Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What is your relationship with money?



Where would you find yourself in this story?

Scripture

Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves;
(Mark 11:15 NASB)
and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple.
(Mark 11:16 NASB)
And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS’? But you have made it a ROBBERSDEN.”
(Mark 11:17 NASB)
And 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.
(Mark 12:41 NASB)
A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.
(Mark 12:42 NASB)
Calling 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;
(Mark 12:43 NASB)
for 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.”
(Mark 12:44 NASB)

Observation

In Mark we find a story of contrasts. In chapter 11 Jesus arrives in Jerusalem and He observes the money changers working around the temple. He is thoroughly disgusted with them and their behavior. They are using the worship of God for their own financial advantage. They are getting rich while, through corrupt means, they are taking money from the poor. In the midst of this scene we hear Jesus speak and He shares with us the "mission statement" for the Temple. It is to be a "house of prayer for all nations!" Now, instead of prayer it had turned into a place of commerce, and it is questionable as to whether the Israelites ever fulfilled the evangelistic role to which God had called them in the first place, reaching out to the peoples' of the world. This is the end of scene one.
Scene two. Jesus is still at the temple and He is now sitting back and watching what happens at the treasury. Undoubtedly He's curious to see, once again, how the people are behaving in regard to money. At first He is discouraged as He sees the rich come by and deliver large sums of money. However, there was no sacrifice in their giving because they had all that they wanted and needed. Then came the poor widow who brought all that she could. It was then that Jesus was moved, for here, finally He saw an individual around the Temple who had the heart of God. In all the others, the love of money had jaded them, but not this woman. She simply gave God everything.

Application

The heroine of the story is a poor woman. Isn't it just like Jesus to turn the story upside down? All the great people are in the story. The great leaders of the Church, the great financial wizards, and the rich laypersons and yet, the poor widow is the one who shows us what it means to be faithful with what God has provided to us. It was good "church" folks who had the wrong attitude toward money. Greed had so corrupted them that it had even corrupted the very mission of the Church. Who are you today, and what is your relationship toward money?

Prayer

Lord, may I be as willing as the widow to give You all! Amen.

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