Once upon a time, a wealthy merchant sought for accommodation at a poor widow’s house because he didn’t have enough money for a hotel room. The widow and her sons were so kind they gave their distinguished guest what they believed was their very best. Just before they retired for the night, the merchant made them many promises that gave the widow and her sons hope for better things to come.
The following day, the merchant left a sack full of wheat floor at the widow’s house, promising to collect it in a few weeks’ time. When the merchant came back, he found that the widow had taken a pinch of flour and cooked a meal for her sons. The merchant took the widow to court where she was charged for stealing. And so for the next 90 days the widow kept going to the judge to plead her case.
“Your honor, I know the law prohibits stealing and the merchant is right to demand that my sons become his slaves,” the widow said. “But how will that pay back the pinch of flour that my sons and I used to cook a meal that saved us from starvation? And had my sons and I not eaten what we thought was our last meal, would the merchant demand that my sons become his slaves?”
The more the widow kept coming, the more the unjust judge kept comparing notes with other judges across the country. It turns out it wasn’t the first time the wealthy merchant was involved in a similar case. On the day the judge gave his judgment, the court was half full of widows who had faced a similar fate.
What happened is so profound it is recorded in a parable in Luke 18: 1-8