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Out of her poverty

September 24, 2009

widows mite

Mark 12:41-44//Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans.

So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

I was hanging out with Holy Spirit yesterday and we started to talk about “out of her poverty.” Luke’s gospel records the phrase too, and I think we often over-look it when we come to this story.

There is a lesson here that giving your all to God, even if it seems like relatively little, is more acceptable than giving your extra. You could teach that lesson, though, without “out of her poverty.” Read it again, take out that phrase, and you get the same message. Give your all, even if it doesn’t seem like much.

I think “out of her poverty,” though, is the bigger lesson Jesus was trying to get at.

“Out of” is the same as saying “because of.” If I told you about a man who, out of compassion, started an orphanage in Nigeria, you would understand that he did what he did because of his compassion. He had compassion, and that made him act.

So substitute. “… but she, because of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

She did what she did because of her poverty. If this same woman’s husband were still alive and they were financially prosperous, would she have given all that she had? Maybe, but I doubt it. Jesus said “because of her poverty.”

Jesus always used real life situations to illustrate spiritual ideas. I think the widow and her two mites are a real-life picture of the first beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” I think Jesus was telling his disciples that if they really want to live for God – if they really want to give it all – they have to first realize how poor they are. The widow realized it because it was her immediate, physical reality, but Jesus wants His people to figure it out before then.

In Jesus’ letter to Laodicea, in Revelation, he calls them poor (among other things). He does not condemn them for being poor, but He does condemn them for not knowing that they’re poor.

I think the point that Jesus is really making is that we cannot give an acceptable offering, we cannot truly serve, and we cannot live wholeheartedly until we realize how poor we really are. We can’t be cheerful givers until we realize that all the riches on earth are nothing compared to His worth. We can’t serve until we realize that we’re slaves of all, and we can’t be His disciples until we see that everything we are without him is loss.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Greys permalink
    September 26, 2009 11:43 am

    Just wanted to say, your blog has inspired me and filled me with so many questions about my faith, beliefs, and what I’ve been told to believe. :]
    I spent 3 hours reading your blog from the beginning (I have yet to finish) and I was so struck by what you have been saying. Its like God is talking through you to me.
    Thank You so much!!

  2. Lex permalink
    September 29, 2009 10:18 am

    Greys – Wow. Thanks. I hope the questions are good ones, and trust that the Lord will answer them for you!

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