Summary: A sermon about trusting God.
“Living in the Presence of God”
What is the point of this story?
Jesus is sitting in the Temple opposite the place where people are putting their money in the Temple Treasury.
The Temple Treasury was located in what was called “The Court of Women,” and it had 13 trumpet-shaped containers for people to put their money in.
As Jesus was watching, many rich people threw in big amounts of money.
It’s the kind of generosity a lot of us can relate too—whether we are rich or poor—they put in some of what they had but kept most for themselves.
More than likely, Jesus and His disciples weren’t the only ones watching this parade.
We have to remember that the people of the 1st Century didn’t have television or even radio.
So, this was entertainment for them—watching, and oohing and awing as big donors tried to outdo one another for the crowd.
Then a poor widow gets in line.
And Jesus is fascinated by this person.
It was probably obvious she was poor just by the looks of her—shabby clothes, drab, ordinary.
No one else probably even noticed she was there.
And when she finally got to one of the receptacles, and dropped in her two very small copper coins it wasn’t much of a crowd pleaser.
If others had noticed her, they may have snickered or looked away in embarrassment.
But not Jesus.
Jesus got excited.
But why did this woman’s offering mean so much to Him?
I mean, what difference in the Temple budget is two very small copper coins going to make?
The root of the Greek word for “widow” means “forsaken” or “left without.”
Widows had it very tough in Jesus’ day.
The status of every wife in the community depended on the status of her husband.
The woman’s role was to help and support to her husband.
When her husband died all her status and security died with him.
In lots of cases the woman was cast out.
She was no longer useful.
Lots of people refused to even think of marrying a widow because she was originally someone else’s wife.
They thought of her as “second hand goods.”
The highways and byways of Israel were overflowing with widows and orphans trying to find a new life where they could live in safety and security.
And because of Jesus, lots of them eventually found acceptance, meaning, personhood and a secure home in the early Christian communities.
Throughout the Old Testament and into the New Testament God has always had a special place in His heart for the widows and orphans, the last and the least, the marginalized, the vulnerable.
The Bible tells us that God Himself steps in to become the new husband to the recently widowed.
He fills the role of protector.
Psalm 68 says that God is “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows.”
In our world, those who are helpless are often taken advantage of by those who think they can get away with it.
Thankfully, the way of our world is not the way of God nor of God’s Kingdom.
And the widow in Luke Chapter 21 knew this.
She had found it to be true, and thus she didn’t give a thought to trusting in the material things of this world for her sustenance.
She didn’t depend on money, power, or reputation.
She wasn’t walking the highways and byways of Israel searching for meaning; for a home.
She had meaning; she had a home.
She had learned to trust in God and God alone for all her needs.
The reason Jesus got so excited upon seeing her is because she was a near perfect model of someone who is living in the presence of God.
Although, to the person who might glance at her and then look away without getting to know her—she was the epitome hopelessness and weakness.
In reality, she has a spiritual wealth most of us only dream about.
I mean, let’s face it.
All of us are incredibly vulnerable and helpless.
Most people are just a paycheck away from being homeless.
Few people have any real savings.
And we are all just a heartbeat away from the grave.
And so what do we do?
We take refuge in false security blankets.
We seek popularity and power.
We grasp for money.
We purchase the biggest and best houses we can afford.
We accumulate stuff for the sake of having stuff.
And in doing so, we become trapped by those things in which we seek to find security.
And our bank accounts, our careers, our style of clothing—you name it—defines who we are.
Without even knowing it, the guiding light for most people in our society is our financial well-being.
Money is our god.