When Crumbs Are Enough
This week's scripture texts are Mark 7:24-37 and James 2:1-17.
So, how did this woman get into the house where Jesus was staying? The text begins by saying that Jesus didn't want anyone to know where he was. He was never given a moment to himself. And here he has entered someone's home and a woman bows at his feet - and a Gentile woman. So again, how did she get there? Who let her in? Where were the body guards? Where was the bouncer?
I believe she belonged in the scene. She didn't sneak in. In other words, someone, presumably a Jewish male knew her. Maybe she was a servant or part of the kitchen help. Maybe not, maybe she was a friend of the home owner, a guest. Maybe the homeowner was more open and welcoming than Jesus was.
Now, Jesus seems to be ok with this woman being in the room but he is not ok giving her the resources that are meant for the children of Israel. Resources are limited. Resources are earmarked. Resources are earned.
Is Jesus saying that God's resources have an end? God's resources are limited? Are not for everyone? This woman understands resources differently than Jesus and she explains it to him. "You see, there are crumbs that go unused. And crumbs are actually enough. The resources here are enough." Maybe Jesus knew that but he didn't believe the resources were for everyone. The resources are for the favored people of Israel.
Favored. Favoritism is not a new thing. Favoritism is played out in so many ways in our culture. We place value in myriad ways. We judge by our bodies, our minds, our social ability, our education, our age, the color of our skin, our gender, our sexual preference, the color of our hair, our size, our stature, our salary, the size of our homes, the size of our backyards, the size of our 401K, the success of our children, whether we have children or not, whether we talk too much or too little, whether we share too much or too little. There are hundreds of ways we calculate worth and somehow we too act as if resources are earmarked. Resources are limited. Resources are earned.
We withhold resources, we save them and hoard them and scrutinize how we will spend them. (And by scrutinize I mean we choose to buy coffee at Starbucks rather than pay off debt or sponsor an orphan halfway around the world.)
Listen, I'm preaching to myself as much as anyone who is still reading. James writes, "Do you, with your acts of favoritism truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?" Favoritism is not new. We play favorites, Jame's audience played favorites, Jesus played favorites - that is until that woman welcomed him into a relationship with her where crumbs are enough. I went digging a little bit and found these gems - two videos by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, an author and spiritual leader. He lives in an intentional community, a house of hospitality in North Carolina.
I'm not sure where I'm headed this week with these texts but I'm going to continue reading about favoritism. I'm going to consider those who are in the room but considered less valuable. And I'm going to think about crumbs and giving them away.
9/2/2015 12:54:41 am
Thank you for sharing this. When I first came to this text, I was thinking about the woman and how unlike her I am. I almost resent her for being so bold and going to Jesus and asking for this healing. Perhaps I am not that bold and and maybe I don't believe as fervently as she did.
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