Summary: Do we have a correct view of money? Do we hold stuff or does stuff hold us? It is time to have a pocket change!
Text: Mark 12:41-44
41And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. 42A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. 43Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; 44for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on."
Jesus was interested in giving and in money. He wasn’t obsessed with money, but understood the importance and necessity of money for everyday life. He sits here and watches as people give their offering. There were all kinds of offerings given. Large and small in amount. Then a woman steps up throws in two mites. There wasn’t much about this offering that should have caught Jesus’ attention or anyone else’s for that matter. This woman gave the smallest amount possible. The coins she placed in the offering were copper. The type of coin doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal except that it was almost a social obligation to give a silver coin at church collections. Only the very poor could get away with giving a copper coin and only the desperately poor would give a copper coin as small as what she gave. According to Jesus she gave everything she owned. This sacrifice caught the attention of Jesus!
This woman’s story stand in stark contrast to the story of the young man we call the Rich Young Ruler found in Matthew 19:16-22.
Another day, a man stopped Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Jesus said, “Why do you question me about what’s good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you.” The man asked, “What in particular?” Jesus said, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself.” The young man said, “I’ve done all that. What’s left?” “If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me.” That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.
What was the difference in these two individuals? Why could the poor woman give all she had, mere pocket change, while the rich young man could not bear to give up his great riches? Two stories. Two completely different views or outlooks on money!
I believe that most of us as American Christians fall into one of these stories. Most of us do not have a correct view of money. We can see this incorrect view of money when we discover that:
1. 1 billion people live on less than $1 a day . . . the average American lives on $97 a day. Christians are represented in this amount. We are called to think more about others than ourselves and yet we live on 9 times as much as those in need and we want more.