Mark 1238 As he was teaching, he said, “Watch out for the legal experts. They like to walk around in long robes. They want to be greeted with honor in the markets. 39 They long for places of honor in the synagogues and at banquets. 40 They are the ones who cheat widows out of their homes, and to show off they say long prayers. They will be judged most harshly.”
A poor widow’s contribution
41 Jesus sat across from the collection box for the temple treasury and observed how the crowd gave their money. Many rich people were throwing in lots of money. 42 One poor widow came forward and put in two small copper coins worth a penny. 43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I assure you that this poor widow has put in more than everyone who’s been putting money in the treasury. 44 All of them are giving out of their spare change. But she from her hopeless poverty has given everything she had, even what she needed to live on.”
Read Mark 12:38-44 with your family. This story happens after Jesus is finished teaching in the temple in Jerusalem, and he is just sitting there with his friends.
Why would someone put everything they had in the temple collection box? That is an important question. Maybe they had complete faith that someone at the temple would take care of them now. Maybe they were convinced to do it by people at the temple that were not looking out for her best interests? We will never know the answer to this question.
The church has often told this story admiring the widow for her generosity while looking down at the scribes for giving only their extra money not all they had. However, only once does Jesus tell someone to give away all their money – and that is a wealthy young man who wants to do an action to get into God’s world without changing his attitude or trusting in the new vision (Mark 10:21). Jesus never told anyone to give away all their money when they didn’t have much to begin with. We are always to give from our abundance, and then a little bit more.
Read Mark 10:17-31 with your family. Jesus was talking with a young man who had a lot of money and wanted to know what else he had to do to be part of God’s world. Jesus told him he had to give away his wealth – not all his money, just his extra money that he didn’t need. This made the young man sad and he left.
Sometimes people think Christian shouldn’t talk about money, but Jesus did talk about it. He talked a lot about the uneven distribution of money and how we should be helping the poor. Jesus also taught us that if all we think about is money and how to get more money, we won’t be able to understand what the Kingdom of God is all about. We won’t show God’s values that everyone is equal and worth having all their needs taken care of.
Money is a hard conversation to have, but Jesus was comfortable challenging the wealthy.
Money does get in the way.
Take a look at Mark 10:17-31. Here is another story of vulnerability, not about already being vulnerable but about making ourselves vulnerable by giving away wealth and abundance to make ourselves open to God.