Recently, I met with a couple of friends to catch up on life. Our conversation became more open when one of them disclosed how much he was struggling with envy at his peers’ accomplishments. In his mind, they’d gone farther and accomplished more than he.
I can identify with that. There’s always someone, it seems, who reminds us that we’re not nearly as far along as we’d like to be in some area.
My other friend shared that he was feeling under appreciated. Few of his employees knew anything of the heroic efforts he’s made to keep his business afloat; and them gainfully employed. Exhausted from his labor, he longed to be appreciated for his perseverance and personal sacrifice.
As I look back on the year, the theme of my learning has been around the word “embrace”—how to embrace my work as worship, my God as the father I longed to have. And to embrace my own worth. Having grown up with a dad who seldom gave affirmations, I had grown reliant on others to validate me.
As we talked, a deep sense of solidarity grew between us. The envious. The unappreciated. And me, the one hungry for approval. Our hearts shared a common longing to know our efforts were remarkable—to be noticed. Collectively, we were the undeclared Solidarity of the Unnoticed.
Long ago a woman did something remarkable that went unnoticed as well. Entering the temple in Jerusalem she placed an offering into the temple treasury. It was all she had. The Bible (Mark 12:41-44) tells us she gave two small copper coins, lepta, “worth only a fraction of a penny.” Her offering would hardly make a dent; less than a rounding error in the temple accounts. In fact, it would take twice what she offered to purchase a sparrow back then, the sacrificial accommodation for the poor.
Oh, I wonder how she must have felt. Did she desire to trade places with others who could give so much more? Did she feel unappreciated when she surrendered all that she had to live on? Did she long to have someone affirm her even though her offering could not buy the least of sacrifices. Did she feel utterly alone? Unnoticed?
Her gift heavenward was the greatest gift given that day. And few noticed.
And when the greatest gift was sent earthward thirty-three years earlier, few noticed then. Or today.
In what ways are you noticing Christ this season?