July 30, 2009 § 2 Comments
1 Looking up, he saw rich people putting their offerings into the treasury; 2 and he noticed a poverty-stricken widow putting in two small coins, 3 and he said, ‘I tell you truly, this poor widow has put in more than any of them4 for these have all put in money they could spare, but she in her poverty has put in all she had to live on.’Luke 21:1-3
My grandparents are Buddhists, but they brought this story alive for me. Unknown to them, they have provided me role models for being both thrifty AND generous.
Of course, there are a few differences– they did not offer me 2 small coins as the woman in the story did. Instead, they gave me a hefty $2000 for my student exchange to Simon Fraser. Perhaps the rich could part with it without much thought. But it is clear $2000 is alot for the man on the street. For him, it is his wages for a month’s toil. My, sometimes I even have difficulty parting with $10 when the offering bag is passed around in church.
There is, in general, a lack of inclination to part with one’s money. And it is my understanding and empathy of such a disinclination which makes me surprised at their gesture.
For in addition to being in similar economic circumstances as the man on the streets, my grandparents are retirees. And very very thrifty retirees too. They would rather fan themselves manually than switch on the fan. And they have skylights so they needn’t switch on the lights in the day. I could go on, but I think the reader can grasp how $2000 is no small sum to them already.
I’m glad to have such grandparents. Not so much for the money, though it’s a great help, but more so for their spirit of generosity. From them I have learnt the meaning of true generosity.