The message was brought by Brother Todd Smith of the Free Will Baptist Foundation.
Jesus was standing in the temple observing the scene. This event is also in Luke, but I want to use what is recorded here in Mark. Something happened that so astounded Jesus that he used it as a lesson for the disciples.
Mark 12:41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. 42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. 43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
I heard a story of a woman sitting on a park bench. Her pocketbook was beside her and a little boy sat on the bench too. She walked off and left her pocketbook. A little later the boy got it back to her. She opened it and looked inside. She said to the boy “I had a $20 bill in here but now there are 20 $1 bills instead.” To that the boy replied, “the last time I did something like this the woman didn’t have change to give me a reward.” He did what he did expecting a reward in return.
How many times do we do something for the Lord fully expecting something in return? We all want the blessings of God but we should do something for him expecting to get something back from him? This woman did something out of a heart of sacrifice and love.
In verse 41 we see that Jesus observed this scene. The temple was separated into courts and this was the court of the treasury. There were no bills at that time; the printing press had not been invented. The only money was coins. The larger the coin, the more it was worth and the louder the sound it would make as it went into the collection. Many gave wanting to be seen and heard. This is what prompted Jesus on the sermon on the mount to say what he did in Matthew 6. Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
Money isn’t bad; it’s just a tool like any other tool. Money is not the root of all evil–the love of money is. Poor people can use their money for God or themselves. Rich people can use their money for God or themselves. In this observation the rich were giving much, out of their abundance. In walks a widow and casts in two mites. There was a vast difference in the worth of what each gave. The rich were proud of their giving. She went in unnoticed by everyone but Jesus. He saw it all. You may feel unnoticed and unappreciated in the visits you make, the calls you make, the cards you send, the singing you do. No matter how small it may be in your eyes or the eyes of others in the world, if it is done with a heart of love for God, it is significant.
We don’t know this woman’s name or where she is from. In the Bible there are many unnamed people. The little boy with the lunch that fed 5,000 is one. Someone prepared that lunch for that boy. Little did they know that God would use it that day to feed many. Someone owned that colt that Jesus rode into Jerusalem. We don’t know his name but he cared for that colt. Little did he know that it would be used by God that day.
God sees the whole picture. Jesus knew the whole situation here. We read the record now and know it, but he knew it then. What did he know? (1) The widow was poor. We are told this fact two times. She didn’t have social security or a 401k. Even knowing this, Jesus didn’t stop her from giving. (2) Jesus knew she was giving to an imperfect people in the temple. Look back at verses 38-40. And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation. What! These people devour widows’ houses but Jesus didn’t stop her. There is no perfect church. Our responsibility is to be faithful. You know the story of the master who went away and gave his servants 5, 2, and 1 talents. He told them to be good stewards. The servant with 5 earned 5 more. The servant with 2 earned 2 more. The servant with 1 buried it and earned nothing more. The others were commended but this servant was not. His talent was taken and given to another because he was unprofitable. (3) Jesus knew this man-made temple would be destroyed. As he and the disciples were leaving that day, they looked around marveling at the temple. We’ve done that when we been in big cities while looking at the architecture. The disciples said in chapter 13:1 And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! Jesus created the entire world. Do you think he was impressed by these stones? No! He was impressed by a widow who gave her all. He said Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
Jesus had a lesson for the disciples. Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. Her offering was small but it was superior in God’s eyes. It appeared she gave little but the rich gave of their leftovers; the widow gave all she had.
Is this message about God wanting our money? No. We are to be good stewards. This is about giving. Even our salvation is a gift. What does John 3:16 say–For God so loved the world he GAVE. Does God need my money? If I die tomorrow will he say “what am I going to do without Todd’s money?” No. God wants our heart. If we’re consecrated to him we will want to give him whatever we have so that it can be used by him.
I see a life totally consecrated to God when I see this widow. A woman went up to her pastor after he preached a message on consecration and asked him to write down a definition of the word. She gave him a pen and a blank piece of paper. After a minute he gave it back to her and told her to sign her name at the bottom. He then told her to let God fill it out. Too often we want to make our lists of what we’ll give God, where we’ll go and so on; then we ask him to sign it in approval. It doesn’t work that way if you want a consecrated life. No matter your age, God has a plan for your life. Be part of it. Sign the page at the bottom and let him fill it in how he wants to do it.