This is the second in a series of devotions based around the events of Holy Week. Read the intro to the series here.
- Scripture -
Holy Tuesday is the second day of Holy Week. It is traditionally marked by reading this passage of scripture.
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
- Reflection -
This is another one of those familiar stories, that we fail to be properly challenged by. I’m struck by the use of the word “many” here. This word comes up a lot in Mark’s gospel.
Many come to Jesus (6:33), including many tax collectors and sinners (2:15). Many are amazed by him (6:2). Many go to greet him as he enters Jerusalem (11:8) but many also testified against him to have him killed (14:56). Jesus tells us that many will pretend to be his followers (13:6). He also says that the many who are first will be last (10:31)
And here we see many bringing large gifts. And Jesus is not at all impressed by them.
You see, many miss the point. They think its just about going to hear or meet Jesus, about what he can do for them, all about participating in that big moment. Because of this they rush to the front. They fight for first place.
Its not that Jesus isn’t interested in the many. He still healed the many (1:34, 3:10), he still came to die for the many (10:5, 13.6). Its just that not all of the many fully ‘got’ the Kingdom. Back to the passage above, so many are giving from a place of comfort, a place of self-reliance, from “first place. But this widow, this status-less, impoverished, back of queue widow: she got it. So much so that she quietly gives everything. All she has.
The small gate looks a lot like an empty bank account. The narrow road looks a lot like a cross. Gaining the Kingdom life looks a lot like losing your own.
Does my following Jesus look like the melee of other followers? If he observed me in the midst of a crowd of other Christians would he see just another one of the many, whom he loves and died for, but who is missing the fullness of the Kingdom. Or would he see in me something that would cause him to smile?
Am I sold out, or am I a sell-out?
- Prayer -
Jesus, I want to be someone who is prepared to give you everything I have. I want to be sold out for you and your Kingdom. Will you show me how to do this, and nudge me into living it. Highlight my areas of comfort, self-reliance, and compromise. Teach me how to make myself last by putting you and others first. Thank you that you gave everything that I might have life. Help me to give you all I have so that others might hear of and gain that same life.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Brinkhorst