This weekend we hear the story of a woman offering all that she has as a financial offering at the temple. This story is often referred to as the widow’s mite; a mite is a Greek currency and two mites together were the same value as the smallest Roman coin. Essentially, what this person was offering held little financial value, but the fact it was all she had showed immense faith. This faith gave her the strength to offer everything she had. She serves as an incredible example to all of us.
Over this past summer, I spent many a night listening to the soundtrack for Les Miserables. The main protagonist in the story is Jean Valjean, a man who turned his life around after spending years as a prisoner. My favorite part of the musical is centered on a small gesture that provided a lifelong impact for Jean Valjean. Shortly after being release from prison, Jean Valjean, out of desperation, steals from a local Bishop, Monseigneur Myriel who had offered Jean shelter and food. When Jean Valjean was caught by the authorities he was brought to the Bishop. At this moment, the Bishop acts with incredible grace and kindness. Instead of sending this man back to prison (which would have essentially been a death sentence), the Bishop has pity for Jean Valjean and does not prosecute him (as a matter of fact, he asks Jean Valjean why he left the best of the goods behind). This small gesture gave Jean Valjean a chance at a new life and redemption. With his second chance, Jean Valjean started a factory and brought prosperity to the entire town of Montreuil. Bishop Myriel’s small gesture had a huge impact on Jean Valjean and ultimately, the people of Montreuil.
We underestimate the power of small gestures, whether it is a financial gift or a random act of kindness. Each and every small gesture, when done to glorify God or one of God’s children, makes a big impact. This week is a good week to ask ourselves, “What small gesture can I make that will have a big impact?”