Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Abundance and Poverty
The Widow’s Offering
He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”
There have always been those who have more than others. Many live in an abundance while others in poverty and this was true in Jesus’ day. While we may find ourselves in different places in life, it is Jesus who can look past all of the clutter and see the intentions of our hearts. The rich people had no problem giving to Jesus. They had plenty. They could put in a large offering but it really cost them nothing. When the poor woman came she also participated in the offering. She could have just passed it by and been justified in not giving. This, however, was not the case. Instead she put in two copper coins, giving everything she had to live on.
Too often we spend our time and efforts in trying to accumulate things here on earth. The more that we accumulate, the more time and money we have to spend on taking care of those things! All of this can become a distraction to our spiritual lives and the reality is that in the story above, the one who was really rich, was the widow. Why is that? Because if we look at Jesus’ great Sermon on the Mount — if we begin to understand what he was saying to us about the kingdom of God, then we begin to see things completely upside down. The poor woman was the one who was blessed because her dependence was not on herself, but on God:
Matt. 5:3 ¶ “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matt. 5:4 ¶ “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Matt. 5:5 ¶ “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Matt. 5:6 ¶ “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Matt. 5:7 ¶ “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Matt. 5:8 ¶ “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Matt. 5:9 ¶ “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Matt. 5:10 ¶ “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matt. 5:11 ¶ “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Matt. 5:12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
The widow gave God everything that she had to live on and in doing so she could realize the reward of the kingdom.
From a spiritual perspective we can find the rich and the widow heading into church these days. There are those who believe that they have much to offer the kingdom of God. They come in with their abundance of talents and abilities — and personal wealth and they share out of that abundance. However, it really doesn’t cost them anything. They can appear to function within the kingdom without giving God their all, and have learned to feel good about what they do. God is asking us to give him everything we have to live on! He is challenging us to a deeper walk spiritually and to complete and total dependence upon him. Only in this way will we discover what it means to live life within the kingdom, and there we will find eternal blessing. At the end of the day it was the rich who were poor and the poor who had abundance. That’s what happens in the kingdom!
Lord, may I live life today out of the abundance of my relationship with you. Amen.