Today is a challenge. It is a challenge to know if what we are doing is the right thing. What we do, does it matter? Are we being “successful” though we are working from home, schooling our kids, meeting virtually, and tentatively planning for the future?
In my questioning, I came across 3 women in the Gospel of Luke who were successful — successful in the right sort of things. Together, they tell a story. Luke writes to give certainty. He wants his reader to know for certain that Jesus is who He says He is. He writes to give the exact truth about the life and ministry of Jesus. So when Luke includes the lives of certain people, it is not by accident. Each person reveals something about the truth of Jesus’ ministry and what really matters.
In Luke chapter 2, we are introduced to the prophetess Anna in only 3 short verses. Quickly, we discover that Anna was married for only 7 years, but at age 84 she had spent most of her life as a widow. Every day, during those probably 60 years, she spent in the temple. Each day and every day she worshipped. Her life was not consumed with pity, but with anticipation. Hope carried her — over a long period of time. And you know what, she got to see Jesus as an infant!
Anna is a picture of faithfulness. Faithfulness involves our each day and every day. It is living with a hope in things that are greater than us.
In the beginning of chapter 8, Luke describes a group of women who follow Jesus. As Jesus goes from village to village with the 12 disciples proclaiming the Kingdom of God, these women follow as well. Even though they were not a part of the “12” they still gave to Jesus’ ministry. They, not the men, were Jesus’ financial supporters. Even though they were women of means they stilled followed Jesus. Luke mentions them by name as ones at Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. They were the first ones to rise early and find the empty tomb. Mary Magdalene got to be the first to proclaim Jesus risen from the dead.
Mary Magdalene displayed faithfulness. She stuck with Jesus even when others fled. Faithfulness involves perseverance in the midst of difficulties.
The third woman is brought to our attention at the end of Luke in chapter 21 in only four short verses. She is a poor widow. It is interesting that Luke bookends his gospel with the widow Anna and with this particular widow. To be a widow was not easy. And to be a poor widow meant you did not know how you would take care of yourself from day to day. Jesus points out that she gave more than the rich, because she gave all she had. Though insignificant to most, Jesus notices her.
The poor widow was noticed for her faithfulness. Faithfulness involves giving sacrificially.
Anna at the beginning gives each day and every day, over a long period of time. Mary Magdalene gives her life to following Jesus. The poor widow gives all she has. If these 3 women could ask us a question what might they ask?
3 Questions from these 3 Women
- What do you anticipate each day? (Does it make your heart sing? Where is your true hope found?)
- What do you think about when life is difficult? (How do you view your struggles and suffering?)
- How are you investing what you have been given? (Do you compare? Are you discontented?)
These three women did not know each other. But together they give a picture of faithfulness. Together they remind me of true success.