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Summary: God is watching our lives, are we givers or takers.

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Pastor Glenn Newton

New Hope Church of the Nazarene

Feb. 13, 2011

Text: Mark 12:41-44

MK 12:41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.

MK 12:43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on."

This morning, you need to understand the setting and the timing of this story to understand how significant it really is, Jesus wasn’t just bored and looking for something to do. This was the last week of his earthly ministry, this is one of the last times Jesus would be teaching his disciples in public before his arrest and his death on Calvary.

I believe that Jesus had a point to make, an important one for us to hold onto for our lives today. Let’s investigate this morning.

The setting is the court of the women, into which both men and women were allowed to come, and where the temple treasury was located. Jesus sat down on a bench where he could watch the people bring their offerings and put them in one of the thirteen trumpet-shaped boxes used for that purpose. It was not the rich with their large gifts who caught Jesus' attention but a poor widow. She placed in the box two of the smallest coins in circulation in Palestine.

You need to catch this… the teachers of the Law and those who were very proud of their ability to give large amounts of money, they would bring their offering to a specific box that was shaped like a trumpet, and as they presented their large gift, trumpets would blare declaring for all to hear how great a gift they had given, it was an act of real humility….(Not) They were spiritual show offs, making themselves look more “spiritual” with how they gave their gifts, at the same time making others who couldn’t give as much feel like they were inferior. It was spiritual pride at it’s best on one side, but Jesus wasn’t interested in looking at those folks, there was someone else who caught Jesus’ attention.

Let’s look again at what Jesus saw, and then said to his disciples… MK 12:41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.

MK 12:43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on."

This morning I want to point out a few things that I see in this passage that I think are important for us to catch.

First, Jesus is watching us, even when we think what we are doing doesn’t matter.

Jesus is a week away from going through one of the most painful, selfless events in the history of our world. He is getting ready to give everything He has for humankind, I think he wants to teach us a lesson, I think He wants us to look at how we are living our lives.

Friends, don’t get stuck on the amount of money in this story, it’s the heart of this widow. She gave everything she owned. This widow lived a life that was constantly at the mercy of those around her. Being a widow in Jesus’ day was not something that you would wish for anyone. She had no family, no sons or daughters to take care of her, she had no brother’s in law who would take her in and protect her, there was no one. In that day, a widow who was in this woman’s situation would have to rely on the mercy of others, she would be similar to Ruth in the Old Testament, reaping the leftovers in the field to try to have something to sell for money.

Does it matter to you that Jesus is watching? Does it matter to you that God sees your motives, and not just listens to the words that come out of our mouths?

So many people say, “Well, when I get a little ahead, that’s when I will give…..No you won’t”. “When I get a little more time, that’s when I will get more involved in church….No you won’t.” The truth of the matter is this, If you are not willing to give now with what you have now….you will never give when you get more…it’s a heart issue not a money issue. If you not willing to give time and energy now to the Kingdom, with the time at your disposal, your never going to get more time….if the church isn’t a priority now, what makes you think that’s going to magically change in the future? It won’t, it’s a heart issue.

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