Mark 12:44 “They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
It was no accident that Jesus did/said this right after he gave such a strong warning about the teachers of the law in verses 38-40. The contrast between them and this devoted widow couldn’t be greater. This certainly brings to mind the “evangelist” who recently grabbed attention by insisting that God wanted him to have an even better private jet (his third). I have no question which category he falls in, and the idea makes me shudder. It is incredible that people would use the Gospel as a ticket to wealth and luxury, but the problem existed even in the 1st Century. That doesn’t make it any less serious! This sort of thing is why Jesus had more to say about money than He did about heaven and hell put together! The root issue is stated in the Sermon on the Mount: “You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24) When we make things of this world our goal, even physical life, we lose sight of the things of eternity. It would take a long time to list all the Scriptures that speak to that. God wants the very best for us, but we have to trust Him enough to make Him our first priority.
This of course applies to me, particularly since, in terms of occupation, I am a teacher of the law! A look at my bank account might indicate that I’m more in the company of the widow, but that doesn’t necessarily prove anything. Poor people can be just as obsessed with money as rich people, if not more. I am reminded frequently of Matthew 6:33, even when I’m not quoting it to others. I’ve got to be intentional in seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness, rather than anything of this world. When it gets complicated is when it involves things like the size of my congregation or the programs of my church. It’s easy to conflate those with “God’s kingdom and His righteousness,” but they aren’t necessarily the same. If I want my church to grow, that’s not the same as wanting God’s kingdom to grow. I’ve got to be careful I don’t cooperate with the devil’s deceptions, deceiving myself and others.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Right now I’m in a place noted for “hidden Christians” from the time of great persecution in Japan. There were very many martyrs here, who loved You more than they loved even physical life. May I learn from their faith, not being blinded by the things of this world but clinging to Christ alone, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!