Plenty, Piety, And Poverty

Opening Prayer

Thank You, God, for the good things with which You have filled my life.

Read Mark 12:41–44

41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Reflect

Cup your hands together and hold them out to God. Ask him to fill your life with more of his presence and power.

After all of the corruption and distortion (11:15–17; 12:38–40), at last a true worshipper appears in the Temple. Unlike the ostentatious leaders (38), she was almost invisible; in fact, Jesus had to point her out to his disciples (43).
Here was one of the widows, abused by the Temple leaders (40), but appreciated by Jesus. She understood what it meant to love God with everything she had (12:30). She could have held something back (42), but instead she gave everything (44).
But there are two ways to read this incident. It is not clear if Jesus is congratulating the widow’s devotion, or if he is condemning the wealthy leaders who are “devouring” her wealth and tipping her into penury. Is the message that we should give everything away? Or is it that we, as wealthy people, should ensure that the lives of the poor are not “devoured” by our failure to help them?
Perhaps we should hear both elements and allow the Holy Spirit to speak whichever word we need to hear!

Apply

How do you need to respond to today’s reading?

Closing prayer

Father God, all I have is Yours; may I live each day and make every decision with that in mind.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider