Summary: It isn’t how much you give to the work of the church that matters. It is how much you keep for yourself that concerns God.
Mark 12: 38 – 44 / More Than All
Intro: In 1975 I assumed my duties as the pastor of Memorial Presbyterian church in South Bend, Indiana. It was a unique ethnic congregation with many customs and traditions. One such “tradition” was the publishing of the annual “Scandal Sheet of Giving.” --- A list of members’ names, their pledge amount and their actual giving. It reminded me then of this scripture passage.
I. VSS. 38 – 40 Jesus warns “watch out” for religious leaders. It is the equivalent of accusing the Justices of the Supreme Court of a crime in their own courtroom.
A. VS. 38b Jesus speaks of “flowing robes” worn as a sign to others that they need not work with their hands.
B. VS. 39 They expect to be seated in the most prestigious places. Would you invite the US Pres. to your home and then seat him far from you?
C. VS. 40 these men have the “big head” by drawing attention to themselves while praying and making offerings.
II. The final blow comes when Jesus compares their gifts to that of a poor widow.
A. VS. 41 Jesus sat down at the place where the temple offerings were put in. Brass horns – quantity and size of the coins determined the noise – the scandal sheet of giving of the time.
B. VS. 44 She, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on. / GK. SHE GAVE HER WHOLE LIFE. - - - Why?
C. God was everything to her. No job to sustain her, no bank account to provide security. No husband to provide for her. All she had was God. To show her gratitude, she gave it all back.
III. Wealthy church member of a church involved in a big financial campaign. Widowed mother. Sister left by a drunken husband with 5 children. Brother crippled by car wreck. --- “I’ve never given any of them a cent so why should I give anything to you?”
A. What makes the widow’s story interesting to me is that she had 2 coins. She could easily have put one in and kept one for herself. What would you have done?
B. It’s not the amount given by the widow. It is the commitment that led her to give. She gave quietly with no fanfare until she had nothing left. She held nothing back.
C. Faithfulness in giving has nothing to do with how much or how little we give. It has everything to do with how much we keep! She gave her whole life to God, not part of it. She gave more than all the others. God is not interested in part of your life / he wants it all.
Conclu: Monica saw the pearl necklace at a garage sale. It was marked $2.00 which she didn’t have. She earned the money. She wore her “pearls” everywhere. --- Daddy asked her one night, “do you love me?” --- “Yes, daddy.” “Then give me your pearls.” --- This went on for three nights. On the 4th night Monica’s daddy entered her room seeing her sitting on her bed with tears streaming down her face. She held out her hand and gave her “2 dollar pearls” to her daddy. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a velvet box. When Monica opened it, there was a beautiful strand of real pearls. What are you holding back from God? What might you gain in its place if you give it over to Him?