Notes On Mark’s Gospel (110)

“On Your Mark”

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

She Gave Everything (Chapter 12 Verses 41-44)

The remaining verses of the chapter tell us how Jesus seems, with a great deal of self-composure, after having delivered a pronouncement of judgment, to take note of a poor widow’s act of devotion. But of course he also takes note of the giving of those of substantial means too (v41). It is also interesting to note that Jesus actually takes note of this widow woman, especially today, in a world that revolves around young people, or so some people seem to think. Leaving money aside for a moment, we are taught surely with regards to any gift offered to the Lord, no matter how small, it is valuable. It means you do not have to be an author, a worship-leader, a musician, a preacher or a professor of theology to be respected by Jesus (1Corinthians 12.12ff). The important thing is, whatever we have, we use for the Lord, the furtherance of his cause, and the glory of his name. But there is another dimension is there not? This giving here, it costs, it hurts. Some of those prosperous folk Jesus mentions, who were able no doubt to give without feeling a thing. There is sacrifice involved in all our giving, our worship (Romans 12.1-3), and, as with this woman, trust. A sweet fragrance, very precious to Jesus.

The problem with poverty is it can become a curse, leading to anxiety, worry and care that finish up with moaning and complaining or even dishonesty and unbelief. Or, alternatively, to casting yourself upon the Lord and his care (1Peter 5.7). So Jesus teaches his men once more (vv43-44). All the rich ones he says, gave and never felt a thing. What the woman had was not sufficient for her own support even, and out of that she gave. A woman of great faith. Did she starve? That was in the Lord’s hands whom she trusted implicitly (Matthew 10.29, 31). It is not what you have got, it is the way that you give it that counts. Do you wish to emulate this woman? Then not by putting all your money in the bag, but by copying her faith, her trust, by believing (Mark 9.23). There is another important lesson here. See the amazing places Jesus finds faith, in this Temple that was full of unbelief, religious thieves, and hucksters. This Temple which was now bereft of anything of God’s Holy Spirit, it had Ichabod (the glory has departed) written right across it. But here is one old lady, who truly believes. DON’T write everybody off!

(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)

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