Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pentecost 23 - Proper 27

O God, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that, being ever mindful of the end of all things and Your just judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of living here and dwell with You forever hereafter; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Verses 38-40 serve as an introduction to our lesson for this morning. Jesus warns the disciples against the scribes, for in their greed they devour widow’s houses. By contrast, we see an impoverished widow who places two of the smallest coins, worth a penny, into the temple’s treasury.

Jesus is sitting across from the offering boxes and observes the gifts being given. He calls attention to the widow’s penny in contrast to the million-dollar gifts of the rich. He claims that she gave more than any other. She gave the most because she gave out of her poverty while others gave out of their abundance.

The heroine of the Gospel is an unnamed widow. She needed the money more than the temple or the priests needed it. It would be expected that those who have shall give and those who have not - do not give. But here is a woman who had as her total wealth two coins. Her net worth – a penny! She is the example for us.

What could she have done?

1. She could have given nothing because she had almost nothing. - But a poor widow came… Vs.42a
This is the final incident in Jesus' public ministry. This story contrasts the greed of the teachers of the law with the generosity and the gift of the widow. This woman had nothing, Think about it for a moment. She had no means of support, no security, nothing. How can you give what you do not have? The point is obvious – you can’t!

2. She could have given one coin to God and kept one for herself. – But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Vs.42 She placed in the box two of the smallest coins in circulation in Palestine. Is this not how we have been instructed how to live? We’ve been taught to live within your means. There are priorities in life. You have to pay for the basic necessities of life – food utilities, shelter and transportation in that order. Then there are your other bills. When all has been paid how much is left? How can you save in this down economy?

3. She gave everything to GodThey all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on Vs. 44 She had given more than all the rich people put together because she had given her whole living. Now she had nothing left! Not even enough to buy a piece of bread. Yet, Jesus knew she would be taken care of by God, in whom she trusted. For this reason her faith is counted as great! It was not the amount of the widow’s gift but the attitude in which she gave. She gave as the Savior gave of Himself.

During these difficult times, especially in times of hardship you need to know of Christ’s presence and power to save. When Jesus preaches in His hometown of Nazareth the people reject Him for He offends them what they had not asked. It was a sad day for the people of Nazareth as they abandoned the Savior – it remains a sad day whenever someone rejects the Savior and His message of grace. And yet, the Savior still calls us to be witnesses for Him in this world for He uses you to be His ambassador of peace and good will. As we gather to worship, to pray, to meet the Savior as He comes to us through His means of grace His message of life and salvation will encourage, strengthen and comfort you.

Jesus does all the work, as He points us to the place where our salvation was won; at a cross and empty tomb. The Father is the one who lifts us up to Himself through His mercy and grace. All He asks of us is to step on the elevator and enjoy the ride. He asks us to place our faith and confidence in Him and to trust Him to do the work He has promised to do.

Jesus sees how much we give. We are among the most generous when, regardless of the size of our money gifts, we contribute sacrificially for the work of Christ’s church. Jesus is not dependent on your gifts. What a relief! Yet, He has arranged to carry out His church’s work through people just like you.

No comments: