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The Widow’s All

Mark 12:38-44 Then He said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.” Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

The Pharisee loved to be noticed and to be prominent among men. His attire and his seating at events communicated that he was a notable personage. He craved the attention that his seemingly superior spiritual life attracted. He was so educated, a brilliant man, and everywhere he went he heard the greetings “rabbi, rabbi” and he secretly glanced around to see if others heard it too. His attainments in life gave him great advantage, so that he was a man of some means. He was the epitome of a holy man, respected by all…except God.

His eye was drawn elsewhere. He saw the little lady who had escaped the attention of everyone else. She was nothing special. Plain. Uneducated. Poor. But she loved God. Unknown and unnoticed by the Pharisees around her who so casually tipped God from the excess of their wealth, she left the temple having given everything to God. It was such a pitifully small amount, yet it was the most extravagant offering given. And it attracted the notice of God.

Many give some, but few give all. Which one will you be? The Pharisee seeking the accolades from the crowd for his spiritual attainments or the unknown widow, giving all.

 

Arise and Fight

2 Kings 18:31-32 Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make peace with me by a present and come out to me; and every one of you eat from his own vine and every one from his own fig tree, and every one of you drink the waters of his own cistern; ‘until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive groves and honey, that you may live and not die. But do not listen to Hezekiah, lest he persuade you, saying, “The LORD will deliver us.”

This is so typical of demonic schemes against the people of God. Although a battle is engaged and the enemy has drawn near, he attempts to lull the people into complacency, convincing them to ignore his attack and to just enjoy the good things of life (or alternatively to settle into our current trouble as an inescapable trial) and all the while his intent is to come and snatch us up and make us his captives. He doesn’t want a people to trust God. He doesn’t want a people to fight against him. He relies upon our desire for a peaceful existence to keep us settled in the land until his time is ready. This is a picture of the church that has forgotten how to fight, or has become too comfortable to fight. We have our buildings and programs. We have our material things, our homes, cars and iPhones.

For many, complacency is the default mode. But in the kingdom we are called to warfare and a radical trust in a God who defends and preserves us.