Summary: The stories of the two widows provide for us to understand and practice the spiritual discipline of giving. We serve a giving God, we are transformed through giving and giving brings balance and harmony in our lives.

Scripture: Mark 12:38--44; 1 Kings 17:8-16 and Hebrews 9:24-28

Subject: Giving - Extravagant Giving

Proposition: The two widows stories show us how to be extravagant givers.


Greetings in the name of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ!

This morning, November 8th is a special day among our Catholic friends. Today is the feast day of the FOUR CROWNED MARTRYS. The FOUR CROWNED MARTYRS were four men (Castorius, Claudius, Nicostratus, and Symphorian) who were tortured and murdered by the Roman Emperor Diocletian for their faith in Jesus Christ back in 305 AD. They had been commissioned to sculpt a statue of the Greek god Asclepius ( (/æsˈkliːpiəs/), the god of medicine and the son of Apollo. They refused to do the sculpture because of their faith in Christ. At first, Diocletian agreed to their request. But later when they also refused to worship his gods he arrested them. Later on they were tortured and killed because of their faith in Jesus. These four men along with another man named Castorius were faithful even when it meant they would be killed.1

This morning, let me ask you a question - what does it mean to be a saint? I know in our tradition we don't canonize saints but if we did, what would it take to be called a saint? What do you think it takes to be called one of the heroes of the faith? What does it mean to be one of those people who the Bible lifts up for us to emulate and respect? Well, it might surprise you this morning to see who the Bible calls saints and heroes of the faith. While some of them like Abraham, Moses or Mother Mary are quite obvious, others include people who most of us would have never even noticed.

In our Marcan and in our 1 King's passage, we find two unusual ladies whose stories are amazing. These two widows, who we are told are poverty stricken, are considered to be among the saints and heroes of the faith. One possesses only a little meal and some oil, while the other has only a penny's worth of coins. No doubt they both appeared a little haggard and worn for wear. Today, they could have been easily mistaken as either homeless or pan handlers.

It would be easy for us to mistake them for their true identity. For these two widows were:

a. Women of great faith and devotion

b. Women of great sacrifice

c. Women of great obedience

d. Women of extravagant generosity

We might just see them as two poverty stricken widows down on their luck. Heaven saw them as spiritual giants. Heaven saw them as saints in the making. I believe this morning that Heaven wants us to read their stories and be amazed at their love and devotion for God. Heaven lifts them up as heroes of the faith.

So, this morning, let's allow these women to speak to us. Let's allow their stories to interact with our life stories and allow them to influence us and help us in our spiritual formation. Let's take a few moments and sit at their feet and learn some important life lessons. For these two widows have much to teach us this morning.

It may be hard for us to put ourselves into their shoes. The widow part, some here know that life all too well. For they too, have lost their beloved spouses and live alone. However, the depth of poverty, the experience of being down to your last meal or to your last penny most of us 21st century Americans simply do not understand. It is way beyond our comprehension.

We may know what it means to go without some things we want and we may even believe that we do not possess very much. Especially, when we look around and compare our lives to those around us. We may see ourselves poverty stricken because we do not have the finest of cars, homes or other things that our friends possess. However, the truth is that the average American today is richer than 95% of the rest of the world.

We live in a land that has been abundantly blessed by the LORD. We live in a place where there is plenty of food, clothing and shelter. For all of that we praise the LORD, for He has been good to our country and to its people.

In saying all of that we must understand that these widows stories are much more than about possessions and material needs. Their stories reveal to us a great many Biblical truths. Truths that include:

+ The truth that Our Heavenly Father sees everyone. Our God is not simply the God of the rich and powerful, but our God is the God of the widow, the orphan and the homeless. Our God is the God who cares and loves the least, the last and the lost.

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