Dispatch Two Hundred Eleven

Posted: July 8, 2019 in Fifty-Eighth Bundle
Tags: , ,

MARK 12:38-44

38 As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39 and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! 40 They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

41 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

As these middle-class church members filed by, depositing their offerings in the temple treasury and then moving on, Jesus saw a poor widow shuffling in the line, her head down in a socially supported shame, looking almost comically out of place with pressed suits and deep pockets on either side. As she approached the treasury box, the streak-faced old woman opened a wadded handkerchief she had been clutching in her hand, and from it, as if drawing fragile eggs from a bird nest, she took two copper coins and dropped them, reverently, in the depository. And then she, too, moved on.

Jesus turned to his disciples and said, “Gentlemen, you have witnessed an act of great sacrifice, for this woman has given God everything she has.” To Jesus, this poor woman had given “more than all those who are contributing to the treasury” because her offering was not from the bottom, after all the bills have been paid, but from the top – that is to say, she gave God the “prime cut” and not the leftovers. It’s not the amount of the gift that matters most, but the level of gratitude and sacrifice that the gift represents. Yes, the others had given more when the numbers are added up, but this destitute widow had put God first.

We are reminded of the conversation between Jesus and the lawyer, about which is “the greatest commandment in the Law.” Love God with all that you are and with all that you have, Jesus had replied. And that is just what this homeless lady did – to the glory of God.

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