'Who me?' by Rob Graham - February 3rd 2019
What does God value more than anything else? This talk, based on a story Jesus told, reveals an answer which surprised many and has life-changing implications for us.
The widow’s offering
In this account of a real event, found in Mark and Luke’s gospels, we find Jesus watching as people make their offerings at the temple.
We see wealthy people, reinforcing their standing in society by giving large amounts, very publicly. Into this context comes a widow - part of the bottom 28% of society in economic terms and most probably living below subsistence level. She gives two Lepta - the smallest denomination of money that existed at the time.
Jesus watched her, called the disciples over to him, drew their attention to her and said,
“Truly I tell you, 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.” (Mark 12: 41-44 NIV)
Can you picture the widow?
Often, with accounts we find in the Bible, the way we view things can impact the way we engage.
In the main, the image most of us have of the widow is an old woman, bent over, shuffling towards the Temple treasury.
We aren’t given any detail, but it’s entirely possible that she was in her twenties or thirties and may have had children dependent on her.
Thinking of her in those terms makes us look at the account in a different way. She may have been giving away much more of her future than we have previously thought. She may have been sacrificing, not only her own welfare, but that of other as well.
What did her gift mean?
This woman, however old she was and whatever her context wanted to give a freewill offering to God and, in the most public of contexts, came to give a comparatively insignificant, inconsequential gift of just two of the smallest denomination coins.
What went through her mind as she walked towards the place where she would hand it over - in full view of everyone?
Who would be watching?
My offering is so insignificant.
Others can give so much more than me.
What will they think and say as I hand it over (will there be a long look with the unspoken words,”Is that all?” …)
But she went anyway and she gave ‘everything she had’.
Jesus saw and declared, “this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.”
What he spoke over her was the truth.
Whatever others might have thought or said, however much she may have thought of herself as insignificant, Jesus’ statement about her was the real truth.
Questions to take this further
How much does a sense of inadequacy impact our lives?
What does God say about who we are in him?
How much do we believe that?
How can we increasingly live from the reality of what Jesus says about us - who we now are, what purposes he has for us…..?