Summary: In poorness we are rich
I heard an interesting story about a self-made millionaire who was giving a talk about how he made his fortune from nothing.
He spoke about how he left school at an early age and worked hard to make ends meet.
He took some risks and eventually it paid off and he is where he is today because he took those risks.
He started with nothing and said anybody could do what he did.
He challenged the listeners to go out and make their fortune from nothing as he did.
When question time came – a young man stood up – looked at the man and said
I dare you to do it again.
The rich man was speechless.
Could he take the risk again?
Would he be prepared to give it all up and try it again – make his fortune from nothing – now that he has got something.
When he was poor, he had nothing to lose.
He was prepared to take risks when the stakes were low.
Now that he was rich, it was different.
In our text this morning we have a woman who took a risk.
We don’t know much about her.
We know she is a poor widow.
She has no name.
There is very little that we know about her.
But that is not surprising.
Widows weren’t highly regarded in those days.
She would not have inherited her husband’s wealth.
There was no social security as there is today.
The money that she had probably came by begging for it.
But here she is – poor as she is – putting everything she owned into the Temple Offering as her gift to God.
What makes this story meaningful for me, is that the poor widow had 2 coins.
She could easily have put one in the offering and kept one for herself.
What would you have done?
Think about it for a moment.
The offering plate is coming around – you have 2 $5.00 notes.
That’s all you have to your name.
You have 3 options:
Put both in, like the widow.
Put one in and keep one for yourself to perhaps buy lunch – or you can.
Keep both for yourself to ensure you also have enough for a meal tonight.
Given her poor situation, I’m sure God wouldn’t have minded if she had kept both for herself – after all, the rich were putting in quite a lot of money.
What would you have done?
Perhaps you would have held back one – and would there have been a problem doing so?
You need to eat – you need money to survive.
But this woman put in everything she had.
Even if she had only put one coin in – that would have been half of what she owned.
How many of us would be prepared to give away half of our possessions?
The English version of the bible says, “she put in all she had to live on.
The original Greek is a little bit different and gives a better perspective – she gave her whole life.
That is what her offering meant – she gave her whole life to God.
She would walk out of the temple area with absolutely nothing.
Nothing, that is, except her faith in God.
If you think you would have put both coins in, like the widow did – ask yourself – would you do the same today given your current financial position?
Would you be prepared to give it all up for the sake of God?
Now we know that we are not saved by the amount of money we give to God.
But that is not what Jesus is speaking about.
Jesus is challenging people who are giving only part of their life to God.
This woman gave her whole life to God.
Not part of it.
And that is what God is speaking about.
God is not interested in part of your life – he wants it all.
In fact, Jesus says that giving only part of your life to God is worse than giving none of it.
In the book of Revelation Jesus condemns the church at Laodicea.
He condemned them for being lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – only half committed to God.
One or the other God can work with.
The church thought they were rich but in fact were poor in faith.
That was the Pharisees’ problem.
They were called hypocrites.
They loved to show off their religious commitment.
They took all the glamour of their high calling.
But at the same time had no problems living lives of selfishness.
Jesus condemned them and warned everyone to look away from them.
They were worse than the merchants and con artists that existed in the marketplace – because the Pharisees were God’s representatives to the people.