Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Widow's Mite Reveals My True Poverty

Here is another wonderful post from Creative Minority Report, this one by Patrick Archbold.

The post concerns his reaction to a "reality" show called Secret Millionaires. On the show, wealthy people go slumming for a week or so and then are supposed to give a large donation to someone they met. The gem of the show is not the hubris and condescension of the wealthy, but the generosity and mercy of the poor.

Here's an excerpt:

This week we met woman who got hooked on drugs when her child died and spent fifteen years in and out of prison. She finally got her life back on track and henceforth devoted it to sheltering and helping other women, newly released from prison,adjust to life on the outside. She found women dropped at the bust stop straight from prison with nothing but $200. She takes them in and helps them back on their feet. She had nothing, but now gives everything she has, her widow's mite.

Unmistakable in the lives of these secret saints, albeit not emphasized on the show, is the role of faith. Their faith manifests in their lives as love and charity at levels I thought existed only in books about the lives of saints from bygone eras. People like this don't exist anymore, right? I, like the millionaires I find slightly icky, just write checks and congratulate myself even while knowing the checks could and should be bigger.

While I am far from a millionaire, I realize more now that there is more to charity than writing a check. I have a lot more to give than just money. I could and should be giving more of myself. If I did, perhaps then I would be more than just a poorer version of those very public millionaires, and I could be more like these secret saints and more like Christ.