Mark 12:38-44 (NRSV)
38 As he taught, he said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39 and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! 40 They devour widows' houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation." 41 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43Then he called his disciples and said to them, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."
So, how do you measure a life? Is life measured by power, wealth, and position like the scribes measured it or is it measured by the scales of love, service, friendship, and sacrifice? Jesus suggests that the better examples are often found among the little people like the widow, people who go about life doing the best they can.
The motivational speaker and writer John Maxwell tells a story about the making of parachutes during the Second World War These parachutes were packed by hand in a tedious, painstaking, repetitive, boring process. The workers crouched over sewing machines and stitched for eight hours every day. The endless line of fabric was the same color. Then they folded, packed and stacked the parachutes. All that was left was for someone to pull the rip cord.
How did they stand it? They stood it because every morning before they began their work, they gathered as a group. One of the managers reminded them that each parachute would save someone's life. They were then asked to think, as they sewed and packed, how they would feel if the parachute was strapped to the back of their son, their father, their brother.
The laborers worked sacrificially, unerringly, uncomplainingly, because someone connected what they were doing to a larger picture, to a larger mission that involved saving lives. Jesus mission was to connect us to one another, to help us understand that discipleship and ministry is about a larger picture. It's about saving lives. Think about it.
John C. Maxwell, Developing the Leader Within You(Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 28.