Learning from a Poor Widow

This post is part of a series that will take us up to the Easter holiday that celebrates the Resurrection of our Lord.

Mark 12:38–44 (ESV)38 And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces 39 and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 40 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

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

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day liked to be noticed. They liked it when people thought of them as better and on a higher spiritual plane than everyone else. Jesus warned against their self-focus. Instead he pointed to a poor widow who gave a small offering of two copper coins. The value of those coins would have been almost nothing. Yet Jesus said his followers should be like her. She was not giving for show. She gave out of the love of her heart and she gave all she had.

We live in a world not unlike the one we read about here in the Bible. We are self-focused and like the attention to be on us. In many ways, our religious leaders are similar to those described here as well. We live in a day of the “celebrity pastor” where pastors are lauded for building megachurches, writing books, and gathering a large social media following. We must be careful that we are following the Lord from the heart and not just as a means to grow our own standing in the world. We need to be like the poor widow.

Lord, help us the serve you because we love you. Thank you for your love for us. Amen.

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