From A Charles Dickens Devotional
Her friend parted his breakfast . . . with the child and her grandfather, and inquired whither they were going. She told him that they sought some distant country place remote from towns or even other villages, and with a faltering tongue inquired what road they would do best to take.
“I know little of the country,” he said, shaking his head, . . . “But there are such places yonder.”
“And far from here?” said Nell.
“Aye surely. . . .”
“We are here and must go on,” said the child boldly; for she saw that the old man listened with anxious ears to this account.
“Rough people—paths never made for little feet like yours—a dismal blighted way—is there no turning back, my child!”
“There is none,” cried Nell, pressing forward. “If you can direct us, do. If not, pray do not seek to turn us from our purpose. . . .”
“God forbid, if it is so!” said their uncouth protector, glancing from the eager child to her grandfather, who hung his head and bent his eyes upon the ground. “I’ll direct you from the door, the best I can. . . .”
Before they had reached the corner . . . the man came running after them, and, pressing her hand, left something in it—two old, battered, smoke-encrusted penny pieces. Who knows but they shone as brightly in the eyes of angels, as golden gifts that have been chronicled on tombs?
—From The Old Curiosity Shop
As Dickens’s tale of The Old Curiosity Shop progresses, young Nell Trent and her grandfather are forced to leave their shop when an unpaid debt leaves them homeless. They wander the streets of London, dirty and cold and begging to survive. Friends help them from time to time. In this scene, the man’s gift of two pennies must have seemed like a fortune to Nell and the old man.
The New Testament holds this story: As a way of honoring God, the Jews were instructed to give money to the temple and also to the poor. One day when Jesus and His disciples were at the temple, they observed a poor woman, a widow, enter and put two coins of little value into the offering box. The disciples were unimpressed. But Jesus said, “This poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on” (Luke 21:3–4 NIV).
The rich gave only part of what they had, but this woman gave all. No one noticed except God’s Son. Jesus saw in her gift real sacrifice and selflessness. The widow may have been poor, but her simple gift showed a faith greater than gold. God doesn’t look at the size of your gift; He looks at the size of your heart.
“Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? –James 2:5
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