Jesus sat down opposite the treasury of the temple to observe “how the people were putting money” into the collection box, according to Mark 12:41. How different from our system today! In many churches it’s customary to prepare contributions for the offering basket by placing them first in offering envelopes, a system which not only aids bookkeeping but also conceals the amount from everyone but the discrete person who keeps the records for tax purposes.
Did anyone notice Jesus sitting there? If I’d been among the people in line, I might have been tempted to give more than usual just because he was watching. As we might expect, the wealthier people gave more, and the poor gave less. A widow put in two small copper coins, “the widow’s mite”, which, according to Mark 12:42, amounted to a cent.
What did Jesus think? He told his disciples that she put in more than everyone else, “for they gave from their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:43-44)
I’m not sure what to make of this model in the light of scripture that commands us to be responsible stewards of all God gives us—to pay our bills and taxes, to provide for our families, and to plan for the future. In this instance, however, we can conclude that our motives matter to God, that maybe we shouldn’t make a big deal out of those who write big checks (it all comes from God!), and that sacrificial giving shows us what’s really important to us, where our hearts are.
From May readings for Days 11, 12, and 13
I Samuel 24-25, 26-28, and 29-31
Psalms 105, 106:1-23, and 106:24-48
Mark 12:35-44, 13:1-13, and 13:14-31
II Corinthians 10, 11:1-15, 11:16-33
2 thoughts on “Where Our Hearts Are”
The more we read the Bible the more places the passage from Proverbs 3:6 (kjv) seems to fit. “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths” including in our stewardship of His money.
Thanks for sharing that relevant verse, Dad!