The Widow’s Mite
Tom Strickland of Coffs Harbor, New South Wales, Australia
Heed the urgent call to become a global family united in the name of the Christ, committed in love to one another, seeking the kingdom for which you yearn and to which you have always been summoned. That kingdom shall be a peaceable one and it shall be known as Zion. -Doctrine and Covenants 161:6b
(Camp Quality is a week-long overnight camp for children with cancer. In the midst of chemotherapy and medical stress, children are given an opportunity to enjoy nature and just be kids for a week.)
I had heard about the old hermit who lived at Nana Glen. He had no electricity and lived in an abandoned Orara Valley gold mine. Surrounded by his curious collection of ancient mining equipment, he lived his independent life in poverty.
By 1987 Camp Quality was burgeoning with community support. TV and newspaper reports carried the message. Most people were aware of the Camp Quality story. One day I was at work when I overheard an enquiry at the customer service area: “Is this where I can find ‘that fella’ who runs that camp for little kids with cancer?”
As I approached the counter, an elderly man came into view. He seemed ill at ease and mumbled something about a hot day to have walked 20 miles (32 km). He clearly was no stranger to hard work! His clothing was frayed and threadbare. Uncut grey hair poked out from under a battered hat. Cracked work boots revealed no socks on his feet. Dirt streaked his almost toothless face. Yet his eyes carried compassion, kindness, and sincerity as he awkwardly explained his mission.
“I ain’t got much, but I thought you might be able to use this for the little kids,” he said. He produced from his backpack a sealed two-pound (1kg) bag of brown sugar. At that moment I was witnessing Jesus’ Parable of the Widow’s Mite.
I told him the brown sugar would be used to make cakes for a fund-raising cake stall. The suggestion appeared to please him very much. I learned that he came from Nana Glen and that his walk home would take until dark…then he was gone!! Stunned, I wanted to follow and drive him home, but work expectations didn’t allow me to leave. I never saw him again.
Of all the donations we received on behalf of the Camp Quality children, none surpass the kindness of that humble recluse who walked a total of 64 km, twice traversing a mountain range on a hot summer day, to contribute the only gift he had to offer: 1kg bag of brown sugar.
Peace, be still (Mark 4:39).
In the contemplative tradition, silent prayer is about cultivating a quality of inner stillness. You may visualize the story of Jesus calming the storm as a way of entering into this quality of prayer. Notice how churned up the waters of your soul are currently. As you breathe deeply, imagine a sacred stillness forming within you. What might it look like to engage all your relationships and daily tasks from this place of inner stillness? As you move through your day, notice when you feel stirred up and when you experience inner calm. Take note of patterns and themes. Invite all of your noticing into prayer as you continue to grow deeper in God as the source of your life and action.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.