Friday, April 24, 2009


Mark 12:41-44

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 fraction of a penny.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, 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."

I’m amazed at how the economic recession through which we are living is affecting the way I read my Bible. Passages that I have read hundreds of times have a fresh hue and tint to them. I see them with different eyes. People around me are losing their jobs. Their businesses are losing customers as people are being more careful with their money. Homes are being taken back by banks and mortgage companies and people are on the streets for the first time in their lives. Churches are frantically looking around trying to figure out what they can do to help. They don’t know how to help because it has been so long since they’ve had to deal with homelessness and unemployment among their own people! That doesn’t even address the sense of responsibility they have for the people in their communities!

Money is tight! Many of us sit down at bill-paying-time and have to decide which bills are going to be set aside for the time being because we can’t afford to pay them. How are we supposed to get through this difficult time? What are we supposed to do? That’s why this passage struck me so hard this evening.

Jesus intentionally went directly to the temple treasury. He wanted to watch the people giving their offerings. I can see him sitting there in the shade, unobtrusively observing as people came and deposited their offerings in the barrel-sized receptacles. He watched as many rich people came. They threw their offerings in. The word Mark chose indicates a very flashy and showy manner of giving. And the throwing would make a scene and a very large noise drawing attention to the giver. As these many rich people came and went Jesus sat quietly in his place. What was he watching for?

That’s when it happened. Nobody else seems to have noticed. It was just a poor widow. She dropped her offering in the can. Jesus saw what she put in. Two tiny copper coins that added up to only a fraction of a penny. I can see Jesus jumping up in joy with a look of complete jubilation on his face! “Did you guys see that? Did you see it?” The disciples looked at one another and then at Jesus and then back at each other wondering what in the world Jesus was talking about. Jesus was absolutely delighted. “You missed her offering? That widow woman who’s just leaving? You should have seen it! Oh! I can’t believe you missed it! It was huge! I’ve rarely seen such a significant gift!” The disciples, really confused, asked Jesus what she had done. They hadn’t heard anything at all! And Jesus said, 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!

Did you ever notice that she gave more than all of the others? Not more than any of the others; more than all the others combined! That is the significance of her gift in the eyes of Jesus!

What do we take away from this? Not a lesson on giving this time; although there is a great lesson to be learned. Rather, a lesson on faith. The poor widow gave all she had to live on. From where would her food come tomorrow? How would she pay her bills? What in the world was she going to do now that she had no money left at all? The answer is implied. She was going to live by faith. She was going to trust God to provide for her. She was confident that God would not let her starve and she put her faith into action. If only we could learn to live by faith in that way!


At 9:37 PM, Blogger Anne of The House said...

Yes, yes and yes!
God is forcing us to live by faith around here..we've both been widowed but only impoverished relationally.
Now we are no longer poor..we have each other... and very wealthy it's the money that slips away like water.
When I was young, I had nothing because I foolishly quit a job. And God provided for me in my foolishness. I lived by faith more easily then. Now that I'm a bit older...the bills seem to outweigh my faith sometimes. I fear the workings of the world more now.
Sure glad there is no more debtor's prison. I'd surely have begun my adult life as a permanent resident! Praise God He is faithful even when we are not.

At 9:18 AM, Blogger jazzycat said...

Sorry I have not visited for a while. You had mentioned that you would like to see the debate with Maalie published as a post so that it could be copied. I have put it together one comment at the time so it would post properly and published it at Jazzycat site. I hope this will work for you and you are welcome to copy and use it as you see fit.

I really like the posts on your site. It should be a great resource for your congregation as well as others.



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