Offering (Mark 12:43-44)

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; 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 12:43-44

How much am I giving? Not just of my money, but of my time and of my abilities and of my attentions and … of my all. The Law commanded that certain offerings be made and the people made them. Some people made them out of their surplus — they had so much that giving the required offering was no burden to them. But this widow comes and wants to give to God and His work, even though all she has is practically nothing. So she gives all of her practically nothing and trusts that God will make good on His promise to provide for her needs. She might even have had in mind God’s challenge in Malachi that Israel try to out-give Him (Malachi 3:10). Only God knows what her motives were, but we can be sure that she wanted to contribute something to God’s work, because she did so.

I do not think that Jesus is teaching that I must give all of my earthly goods to the kingdom. There is no need. The Earth and all it contains — including the people — is the LORD’s (Psalm 24:1). I should recognize that everything I have; everything I am belongs to God already. What I think that Jesus is reinforcing is something David said hundreds of years before: sacrifice; giving to God must cost me something (2 Samuel 24:24). To give out of my plenty is no burden; no sacrifice. But to give to a point where it costs me something is to sacrifice. If I give of my time, then I cannot use that time for anything else. If I give of my abilities, then what I give leaves my hands and becomes something that God uses. If I give of my resources, then those resources are no longer mine to use on Earth, but have been invested into Heavenly accounts.

Let me examine what I offer to my God and make sure that I do not offer “sacrifices” that cost me nothing. If they cost me nothing, then they are no sacrifice at all.

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