the acid test of character & worship

Sitting across from the offering box, he was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions. One poor widow came up and put in two small coins—a measly two cents. Jesus called his disciples over and said, "The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they'll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn't afford—she gave her all."
Mark 12:41-44

There is a lot of talk about WORSHIP these days. Sometimes the focus on worship centers on music (incidentally, worship and music are not synonymous. That is a very narrow and immature way of viewing worship. EVERYTHING you do is worship. We miss out on a great many avenues of complimenting and worshiping our God if we avoid the plethora of ancient and contemporary experiences and exercises designed to make us more
aware of God's nearness and goodness.) A lot of people think God is a 'hip dude' with a tattoo who likes praise choruses (in-particular Hillsong tunes), and if you play the right kind of music, God is satisfied. Worship is not primarily what we do with our hymnbook/songbook (or PowerPoint), but what we do with our pocket book. Worship is not ritual and routine, the way we put the order of service together, that's important, but worship has to do with how much God means to us, me, you. What worth you place on God and the way you and I give is more important than the order of the service.

This woman gave, because in her life, God came first. And when she had to choose between her daily bread and giving to God, she served her priorities well.

In that way of course, she stood in contrast to some of the other people who were in that courtyard.

She is certainly in contrast to the religious leaders that Jesus mentions (in the previous verses). For them, they were religious not because of what they could give, but because of what they could get.

This widow stands in contrast to the wealthy benefactors that threw in their coins that afternoon and gave very generously. The point that Jesus makes though is that they all gave out of their surplus, she gave out of her desperate need. Those men did not have to touch their standard of living in order to give to God. They didn't have to live in smaller houses, or take food off their table, or go without their latte, or wear a less expensive cut of clothes. No, they gave out of the overflow. There was no red streak of blood in what they gave. But this woman gave to the point of pain, because she attributed worth to God.

In that sense I suspect that that woman stands in contrast to some of us. Giving for us can almost be an irritation. "Too much preaching on money and I'm going to go to another church!" Giving for us is usually something we do out of our surplus funds. You know as well as I do how easily we can baptize luxuries as necessities and then spend our funds on luxurious necessities and say we have really nothing to give to God.

This woman comes that afternoon and as an act of worship gives God all that she has. The motive was shown in her contribution.

Don't you think that's significant? Don't you think is remarkable that when the New Testament writers single out the most generous giver known to God, they chose a poor widow who put in less than a nickel!!

But what a nickel it was!!!!!!

It came out of devotion of her heart, the generosity of spirit. It reflected all that God meant to her.

What we give is not nearly as important as why we give. But why we give will be reflected in the amount we give. And God is honored by gifts that have about them the strength of sacrifice. Mark that well, motive is everything.

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