One of the challenges of preaching about widows is the ones we know usually aren’t in the dire situations faced by the ones in the Bible. Sure, plenty are on fixed incomes, but they also have something coming in each month to keep them going and, often, families who look after them. Thankfully, widows, for the most part, aren’t without a safety net in our country.
The widows we know may be grieving the loss of their spouse and may be showing us how to move forward, despite the grief. They might be lonely in their quiet homes and gathering friends to bring cheer to others or to play bridge or to take trips. The Biblical image of a destitute widow desperate for anyone’s assistance, thankfully, isn’t as widely experienced as it once was. Plenty of widows are doing well and leading well and more concerned about helping others than needing additional help for themselves.
Even so, the point holds: people of faith are to help those in need, whoever they are, whether widows or the working poor or orphans or the homeless. It’s for those struggling and those who are not. It’s a way we get to meet Jesus – for when I was hungry, he said, you fed me (Matthew 25:31-46).
We often find ourselves facing “compassion fatigue.” How many times can our heart break for the hungry or lonely or grieving without callouses forming? We can’t solve it all; it’s overwhelming. What are we to do?
We’re thinking of military veterans these days. We’re remembering the end of World War I. No soldier carried every single fallen soldier off the battlefield, but plenty of soldiers carried one or two. Only Jesus can carry the weight of the world, but his people can carry the weight of a child or a few of God’s children. Be refreshed by his Spirit and by the invitation to do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.