Summary: Gold wants love and genuine caring concern in all our giving. He could care less about giving by rote, without a heart of worship.
This is a homily shared at The Feast, an inner-city gathering with the Yonge Street Mission that invites everyone from the community in to Feast on good food, the Word of God and fellowship.
God is not the same as us. He thinks very differently. Nowhere is this more obvious than in almost all of Jesus’ teachings. There’s often an unexpected twist to the story with Jesus.
If you’re reading or hearing this particular story for the first time, or with fresh ears, it might strike you that God’s math is different than our math. God’s ways are not our ways.
The story is just a tiny moment in Jesus’ public ministry. It says that he just sat down near where people would put their offerings to God in the tithing box, or temple treasury, and he watched.
Do you ever just sit down somewhere and watch what people are doing around you. It can be pretty interesting what people do when they don’t know they’re being watched.
Well, here, Jesus sits down and watches. And when He did, all kinds of people walked by. The story just mentions 2 types of people though. Rich folks and one poor woman, a widow. They’re all there for a similar reason, to give their offerings to God.
But there are different attitudes in the people doing the same thing. The text says that the rich people ‘threw’ large chunks of money into the treasury, really not caring where it fell.
You can maybe imagine the scene. It would be like some people today tossing bunches of 20’s into a box, so rich that they could throw away money like that, and also doing it without any heart. Just going through the motions. Some empty ritual.
The idea with giving to God is that it matters when it’s an act of worship, an act of obedience. It’s a gift to God, a way of acknowledging that he is the source of all our blessings, whatever they may be, and a way of returning to Him something of what he’s given.
But, it’s weird that these folks were casually tossing in things of value. They were likely doing it by rote, as a dry duty, and not out of love, not with any sense of sacrifice, joyful sacrifice, or worship.
And then Jesus notices this old woman who is very poor, and she, with much more care and thoughtfulness, puts her tiny amount...just a few pennies, into the treasury. It’s not a lot, not an impressive offering at all, to human eyes.
But God is not the same as us. He thinks very differently.
Jesus says that the poor widow put more into the treasury than all the other people.
But...the numbers don’t add up, do they? Why did Jesus say that she put in more than all the other people?
God is not the same as us. It’s like she put a little - though all she had - in the treasury, but she also put a LOT of heart into it. The others but a lot of money in, but NO heart.
And it’s like Jesus is saying God could care less about careless or thoughtless offerings, empty rituals with no heart, no passion attached.
God values the attitude of our hearts. He cares that whenever or whatever we give - our time, our energy, our money, our ear to someone who needs to be heard, that we make sure that our heart is attached to what we do, what we give.
Probably the most important things we do are not for ourselves, but for others. We make a difference on this planet when we care, when our heart is in our actions toward others.
And what we do doesn’t have to be a big deal. Usually it’s not. It’s the really little things, done with a ton of heart and love, that really make all the difference in the world.
May you and I do that. We likely won’t ever have the stresses and anxieties of having a lot of money. People with money spend all their time worrying about and protecting their treasures.
But we will all have a little to give. May we always give with thought and care and lots and lots of heart.
May we love in our giving. And in this way may we honour the God Who loves us with an everlasting love, and Who gave His only Son - the biggest, most expensive gift anyone has ever given, given with the greatest passion and caring on the planet.
He did that - so that you and me and everyone who places their faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, can be free, and so that we can have peace with God. Amen.