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Dr. Walter D. Huyck Jr. D.Min.

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The Widows Two Mites

Mark 12.41-44; cf Luke 21.1-4

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[A farmer once went to hear John Wesley preach. The preacher said he would take up three topics of thought relating chiefly to money.

      Wesley's first point was, "Get all you can!"

      The farmer nudged his neighbor and said: "That man has got something in him it is admirable preaching."

      Wesley reached his second division: "Save all you can." The farmer became quite excited. "Was there ever anything like this?" he asked.

      The preacher proceeded to denounce thriftlessness and waste, and as he did so, the farmer rubbed his hands as he thought, "And all this have I been taught from my youth up." What with getting and hoarding, it seemed to him that "salvation" had come to his house.

      But Wesley went on to his third point, which was, "Give all you can."

      "Oh, he did gone and spilled it all," exclaimed the farmer.]


A.     The Monitor (vs 41) [– And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.” - Jesus in the Treasury.] 

1.      God sees our Actions (1 Samuel 2:3; cf. Rev 20.11-15; 2 Cor 5.9-10) [- As Hannah said in her prayer, the Lord is weighing our actions.  

[1 Samuel 2:3 3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.]

a.       [Sounding The Trumpet - The Treasury, where people placed their offerings, consisted of thirteen brass treasure chests called trumpets because they were shaped like horns and were made of brass.  As people poured their offerings into these chests the sound of the coins against the brass horns proclaimed their gift.  As rich men came and poured of their abundance into these chests the enduring sound would draw attention to the gift and giver.  This was called Sounding the Trumpet.] 

b.      [God is Watching - Because of the Passover the treasury was a most busy place as both local inhabitants and pilgrims crowded past the thirteen shopharoth (chests) and inserted their offerings.  This is where Jesus was, therefore, God was Watching as they gave.] 

(1)   [Neither the widow (the principal focus of Jesus' attention) nor the rest of the people had any idea they were being watched.  It is interesting to note that Jesus, God in the treasury, did not take notice of the rich as the sounded the trumpet.  While sounding the trumpet might gather the attention of the religious leaders and the people in the area, Jesus gave no honor to these gifts.  The fact is that God is always watching us, but God does not look on outward appearances, God looks on your heart.] 

c.       [The Books Are Kept - Yes God sees all of our actions.  Absolutely nothing eludes him.  The Bible reveals that God keeps books that record all of our actions, for the sake of future judgment.]  

(1)   [For the lost these books are kept and will be used to set their level of condemnation of judgment.] 

[Revelation 20:11-15 11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.]

(2)   [For the saved these books record the opportunities seized and missed, and will be used to reward the faithful and reprimand the indolent] 

[2 Corinthians 5:9-10 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.]

d.      [The first error of the wicked and the slothful are similar in that they make the mistake of thinking that God is not watching.] 

e.       [The second error of the wicked and slothful is similar in that they make the mistake of assuming that God only observes outward appearances.] 

2.      He Knows our Intensions (Psalm 139:2; 1 Sam 16.7) [- David prayed,] 

[Psalms 139:2 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.]  

["When we feel as if God is nowhere,

He is watching over us with an eternal consciousness,

above and beyond our every hope and fear" (cf. Psalm 139:1-6). [Geoge MacDonald]] 

a.      [God never misses a thing, he is always watching.  God not only sees and records your every action, but He records your every motivation.  We must be reminded that God does not look on appearances, He observes your heart.] 

[1 Samuel 16:7 . . . the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.]

b.      [Giving to get – There are many who give to:] 

(1)   [Receive social standing – They give to be seen, and hope for a return in business, politics, and or standing as a result.  These love to sound the trumpet.] 

(2)   [Receive spiritual balance – They sense that they owe a debt to God and instead of receive the salvation offered through our Lord Jesus Christ they hope to purchase their eternal redemption through their giving, and philanthropy.] 

c.       [Giving to get may get you mortal and community stature or a personal false sense of hope, but Giving to Get will always end in immortal shipwreck and tragedy.] 

d.      [Jesus was watching in the treasury that day just as God is watching your actions and your motivations!  God never misses a thing or a thought!] 

B.     The Message (vs 42-44) [– And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. 43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”] - Two sides to Jesus words: 

1.      Encouraging to those who have little (Psalm 37.16; 2 Cor 9.7) [- Don’t make the mistake of thinking your offering is too little and insignificant to give.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your gift will mean nothing in god’s kingdom.  Your Heavenly Father weighs our gifts upon a divine scale unlike any known to mankind.  The Bible reminds us:]   

[Psalms 37:16 16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. ]

a.      [The value of a mite] 

(1)   [Her offering was two coins, so small they were called lepta (literally, "peeled" or "fine," the idea being a tiny thin coin).] [C. E. B. Cranfield, The Gospel According to St. Mark (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1966), p. 386.] 

(2)   [The miniature lepton was worth only one four-hundredth of a shekel, or about one-eighth of a cent.] [William L. Lane, The Gospel According to Mark (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1975), p. 442] 

b.      [A Willing Sacrifice Makes The Difference. What made this widows gift valuable was the level of sacrifice it represented.  Jesus noted that she gave all that she had.  She gave a hilarious gift to our Lord, where others were giving mere comfortable gifts. 

[2 Corinthians 9:7 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. ]

c.       [Your sacrificial gift, given in submission to our Lord and for His Kingdoms work will be worth more than all of the treasures stored in Fort Knox.  Calvin once said,] 

["The Lord encourages the poor, . . . If they consecrate themselves,

their offering which appears mean and trivial

will be no less precious than if

they had offered all the treasures of Croesus." [Calvin]] 

2.      Sobering to those who have much (1 Tim 6.10). 

a.       [We should not assume that Jesus disapproved of all the offerings of the wealthy. Very likely there were some wealthy folks who had noble motivations.  The Bible does not teach that riches are evil in and of themselves, but when we trust our riches more than God, now that is when the riches become our God.] 

[1 Timothy 6:10 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.]

b.      [The ability to give on a scale that is not possible for others can produce a delusion of superiority and spiritual safety.  Calvin once said,] 

["Those who have a richer supply . . . are told that it is not enough

if their generosity far exceeds the commoners and the underprivileged,

for with God it rates far less for a rich man to

give a moderate sum from a large mass." [Calvin]] 

C.     The Motivation - Four observations concerning giving: 

1.      The Submission of Giving (1 Sam 15.22; 1 Cor 13.3; 2 Cor 9.7) [- When it comes to giving, the posture of our hearts makes all the difference.  There are two sides to submission - Webster's:] 

a.       [To submit or turn in. The I.R.S. does not care whether I give willingly or grudgingly they just require that I submit or pay my taxes.] 

b.      [To submit as in to humble or become compliant.  This is a matter of the heart.  God cares about the issues of the heart, as well as obedience.] 

[1 Corinthians 13:3 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.]

[2 Corinthians 9:7 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. ]

["Not What we give, but what we share,

For the gift without the giver is bare;

Who gives himself with his alms feeds three,

Himself, his hungering neighbor, and Me." ]

[Author Unknown] 

2.      The Substitution for the Gift (2 Cor 9.7-11) [- God can do great things with tiny offerings.] 

a.      [God replaces a properly given Gift with His abundance and ability.] 

[2 Corinthians 9:7-11 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) 11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.]

b.      [Sacrificial giving is not so much about the value of your sacrificial gift, your sacrificial gift may not seem like much, but is about what God can do with your sacrificial gift.] 

 ["If there is love and sacrifice with the giver,

there will be spiritual power in the gift . . .

what the Church needs is not larger gifts,

but gifts given with the positive spiritual quality of the poor widow."] 

3.      The Subtlety of the Gift (Matt 6.3-4) [- At the Judgment Christ will square His accounts.] 

[Matthew 6:3-4 3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.]

a.       [There is no evidence that the widow ever knew what Jesus thought of her gift.  She won't know until the Bema of Christ.] 

b.      [Yet she has been immortalized in the enduring Word of God for all generations.] 

c.       [God's rewards for proper giving may be barely perceptible or subtle, but they are eternally rewarding.] 

4.      The Subjugation of the Gift (Rom 2.11) [- God is sublimely egalitarian (equal).] 

[Romans 2:11 11 For there is no respect of persons with God.]

a.       [All are equal in the site of God.  All of us can do great things for God.] 

["God does not want our money, He wants you and your heart.

Yet, we cannot give ourselves to Him apart from our money."] 

[Illustration - Cirrhosis of the Giver.] 

[There is a disease which is particularly virulent in this part of the twenty-first century.  It is called cirrhosis of the giver.  It was actually discovered about 34 A.D., and ran a terminal course in a couple named Anaias and Sapphira (Acts 5).  It is an acute condition which renders the patient's hand immobile when it attempts to move from the billfold to the offering plate.  The remedy is to remove the afflicted from the house of God, since it is clinically observable that this condition disappears in alternate environments such as golf courses or clubs or restaurants.]

[Actually, the disease is really not a motor problem, but a heart problem.  The best remedy is to fall in love with God with all your heart, for where your heart is, there will your treasure be (Matt 6.21).]




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