Throughout the gospels, Jesus challenged people’s faith. “How serious are you in following Me,” He might say? You could find Him in the Temple as well as going from town-to-town sharing who He is and what it means to follow Him. In Mark 12, Jesus gave many lessons on practical living that would cause people to stop and assess how they were living. Is their lifestyle lining up with what He is saying?
He taught on paying taxes and understanding that “God is the God of the living, not the dead.”27 He shared what is the most important to God as well as having discernment with religious teachers who don’t live with God in their hearts, “Beware!”38
In the Temple, Jesus goes and sits by the collection box and watches people put in their offerings. He is wanting His disciples to learn a valuable lesson. Soon, their faith will be tested. How serious will they be in following Him when life becomes challenging? How deep is their commitment towards Him when what they thought they knew suddenly is thrown upside down?
Jesus watched many rich people put in large amounts of money. Along came a poor widow, and she dropped in two small coins. The disciples were going to learn a valuable lesson, and this lesson is for us as well. The allocating of your funds demonstrates the faith in your heart. Your pocketbook reveals the depth of your commitment to God.
“I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”43-44 Jesus was telling them that those with more than they need gave out of material wealth at little cost to themselves. The woman gave out of poverty. She gave sacrificially. She entrusted herself to God to provide for her needs.
We learn that God places value on wholehearted, sacrificial commitment.
While the abundance of money given by the wealthy is used for good, this woman’s two coins carried more weight in God’s economy. The Kingdom of God is “not a matter of what we eat and drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,” see Romans 14:17. In Daniel 2:44, you read how “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these (earthly) kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever.”
While having money is necessary to live on, it isn’t priority with Jesus. What does the Bible say about money and why is it important to keep it under the control of God? In 1 Timothy 6:10 ESV, it says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” Luke 12:15 ESV says, “Take care and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Ecclesiastes 5:10 ESV says, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.” Finally, Matthew 6:19-21 says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
The poor woman gave all she had for her treasure was in her Lord. She trusted God. Her life was His and she followed accordingly.
While the wealthy may have given with joyful hearts, see Malachi 3:10 and Proverbs 3:9-10, they still had plenty at home to live on. Their giving wasn’t sacrificial. Jesus came to give sacrificially. As His followers, we are called to do the same.
While the Old Testament talks about giving 10% of your income back to God, in the New Testament, it is about positioning your heart to be generous. The poor widow understood 2 Corinthians 9:8, “God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need, and plenty left over to share with others.”
Today is the day to open your pocketbook and ask God to help you allocate His funds as He sees fit. Yes, you work hard for your money, but it all begins and ends with God. It is His money. He loans it to you to use for His kingdom. What needs to change so your heart becomes like the poor widow? Is your lifestyle aligning itself up with God’s Word?
Think about this: The widow probably gave her last two coins and went home hungry. As she walked past the grocery store on the way home, she prayed for His provision. God’s Kingdom was more important than any human need she had.
What are you willing to walk past (or give up) for Jesus, and trust that He will provide your every need? How serious are you in following Him?