"Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home." - C. S. Lewis

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Rest of the Story

Have you ever read an account in the Bible and wished you could read the rest? Sometimes it seems as though the story ends too soon.  We read of a person's crisis, God's intervention, and maybe the immediate results, but there was so much more to their story, right?

Take Zacchaeus. As a tax collector in that day, he knew how to cheat extra income into his own pocket.  One encounter with the Son of God and he emphatically declared his deceptive days over, vowing to give back four times the amount he had stolen and donate half of his true income to the poor.  But then it ends.  Luke moved on to the next event, leaving Zacchaeus behind.  What happened next?  Did he really do it - did he really return all of that money?  Did those he had cheated forgive him?  Did he continue to live honestly, and did he follow through with his generous plans?  What about the Romans - did Zacchaeus ever face any ridicule for his radical change in lifestyle?

Or what about Naaman?  As a Syrian, he was technically an enemy of the Israelites.  But after taking Elisha's advice to dip seven times in the Jordan, he was cleansed of his dreaded leprosy.  At that point, he said: "'from now on your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the Lord'" (2 Kings 5:17).  Did he keep his word?  Did he worship only the one true God for the rest of his days?  What did the other Syrians think of that?

Have you ever wanted to read their epilogue?

And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on” (Mark 12:41-44). 

I wonder if this had happened before?  Had she given her last cents away many times, or was this a first - an act of obedience, perhaps after a sleepless night spent in worry and "what-ifs"?  Maybe she had given "all she had to live on" away before and had experienced the unmistakable provision of God, so she knew He would provide for her again.

Did she know Who was watching her?  What happened next?  How did God provide for her needs?  Was it through a friend, a relative, a stranger - someone completely unaware of her plight?

I don't know the rest of her story.  When she placed those copper coins in the box, she did not know the rest of her story, either.  But she trusted that the One who had led her this far would never leave her stranded here.  So - clink, clink - she put the coins in the box.  And left the rest of her story to God.

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