I particularly enjoyed this story by Corrie Ten Boom from her book “Tramp for the Lord.” These verses from Mark 12 could be applied.
Mark 12: 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.[f] 43 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. 44 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.”
One Finger For His Glory
We arrived at her apartment by night in order to escape detection. We were in Russia(in the region of Lithuania on the Baltic Sea). Ellen and I had climbed the steep stairs, coming through a small back door into the one room apartment. It was jammed with furniture, evidence that the old couple had once lived in a much larger and much finer house.
The old woman was lying on a small sofa, propped up by pillows. Her body was bent and twisted almost beyond recognition by the dread disease of multiple sclerosis. Her aged husband spent all his time caring for her since she was unable to move off the sofa.
I walked across the room and kissed her wrinkled cheek. She tried to look up but the muscles in her neck were atrophied so she could only roll her eyes upward and smile. She raised her right hand, slowly, in jerks. It was the only part of her body she could control and with her gnarled and deformed knuckles she caressed my face. I reached over and kissed her index finger, for it was with this one finger that she so long glorified God.
Beside her couch was a vintage typewriter. Each morning her faithful husband would rise, praising the Lord. After caring for his wife’s needs and feeding her a simple breakfast, he would prop her into a sitting position on the couch, placing pillows all around her she would not topple over. Then he would move that ancient black typewriter in front of her on a small table. From an old cupboard he would remove a stack of cheap yellow paper. Then, with that blessed one finger, she would begin to type.
All day and far into the night she would type. She translated Christian books into Russian, Latvian and the language of her people. Always using that one finger….peck…peck….peck, she typed out the pages. Portions of the Bible, the books of Billy Graham, Watchman Nee and Corrie ten Boom. All came from that typewriter…that was why I was there, to thank her.
She was hungry to hear news about these men of God she never met, yet whose books she had so faithfully translated. We talked about Watchman Nee, who was then in prison in China, and I told her all I knew of his life and ministry. I also told her of the wonderful ministry of Billy Graham and of the many people who were giving their lives to the Lord.
“Not only does she translater their books”, her husband said as he hovered close by during our conversations, “but she prays for these men everyday while she types. Sometimes it takes a long time for her finger to hit the key, or for her to get the paper in the machine, but the time she is praying for those whose books she is working on”.
I looked at her wasted form on the sofa, her head pulled down and her feet curled back under her body. ”Oh Lord, why don’t you heal her?”, I cried inwardly. Her husband sensing my anguish of soul, gave the answer. ”God has a purpose in her sickness. Every other Christian in the city is being watched by the secret police. But because she has been sick so long, no one ever looks in on her. They leave us alone and she is the only person in all the city who can type quietly, undetected by the police”.
I looked around the tiny room, so jammed full of furniture from better days. In one corner was the kitchen. Beside the cupboard was her husbands “office”, a battered desk where he sorted out the pages that came from her typewriter, to pass then on to the Christians. I thought of Jesus sitting over against the treasury, and my heart leaped for joy as I heard Jesus bless this old woman, who like the widow, had given all she had.
I Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.