The Widow's Offering
Text: Mark 12:41-44

a sermon by Bob Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

We must understand the story against the background of v. 40. The Jewish teachers did not receive a salary or regular income from their work. They depended on the generosity of those taught for their sustenance (compare Gal. 6:1-6). This system was ripe with abuses, and it seems that often those who were most susceptible to being manipulated were the widows.
Thus Jesus' interaction with the Jewish leaders and teachers concludes with words of condemnation against the teachers. They are prone to making a show, seeking prestige and prominence, and taking advantage of others.

What Jesus is communicating

  • God is not opposed to those who give out of their wealth, but this should not be a source of self-satisfaction. It is a blessing from God to be able to give much, but the ability to give should not satisfy us. Giving alone is not a sufficient Christian service.
  • Those who give out of poverty or lack may give more. It is true that they are giving more because they have so little left. One measure of giving is what one has left for self. Consider the Macedonians who first gave themselves. When we give ourselves, our resources follow. When we are focused on heaven, the treasure follows. "Where your heart is, there will your treasure be." "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Our hearts and our treasures move in tandem.
  • God does not expect us to give so that we become poor.
  • God rejects the usual way of measuring in which humans look at ability more than heart.
  • God uses a different measure, based on heart more than ability

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    Last updated February 22, 2011