One of my favorite stories in the Gospels can be found at the end of Mark 12: “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.'”
The poor widow gave a minuscule fraction of what the rich men did, but Jesus says she gave more. Last time I checked, God is never wrong. So what does Jesus mean? He means that they gave, but they did not “give until it hurts” as Mother Theresa would say. They gave only out of their surplus, which is an offense against justice. The just thing to do would be to keep enough money to live on, and give away the rest. The widow showed that money has no hold over her, that she has poverty of spirit. Otherwise, she would have tried to hoard her few cents, and would have been jealous of the rich men’s offerings, perhaps even too ashamed to put her own paltry donation into the treasury. With this small act she has set the standard that everyone should live up to, and the rich men probably have no idea that they are falling short of this standard.
I want to inspire people with healthy lungs to not take them for granted, and to not squander the benefits of breathing well. When you are young, especially, you have a “surplus” of health, so please take care of your body. An example of frittering away good health is willfully inhaling poisonous fumes and carcinogens in cigarette or marijuana smoke. It’s a mockery of people who would give anything to have that smoker’s lungs! Any time a person lights up, they should also have to tape a sign to their forehead that says “I’m really, really stupid”. Seriously!
From the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
“This coming January 2014 will mark the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s Report on smoking and health, which concluded that smoking cigarettes causes lung cancer. Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, killing more than 1,200 Americans every day. More than 8 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease. Each day, over 1,000 youth under 18 become daily smokers. Smoking-related diseases cost Americans $96 billion a year in direct health care expenses and $97 billion in lost productivity each year, a substantial portion of which come in taxpayer-supported payments.”
Like the widow, I am poor in that I have poor lung function. So, I can set the standard by giving everything I have in the fight for my health. A lot of people will ignore the standard and the above mentioned facts. They will keep on smoking pack after pack, because they really don’t care enough to change.
Some life advice: never date a smoker, they have no concept of guilt.