A true offering is much more than an act of giving; it’s an act of being present...with God and for God.
As any great coach can attest, champions aren’t born. They are made. To be the best you have to be willing to give it your all. This is true in sports, politics, business, and of course, faith.
Today Mark offers us a story about someone who did just that. It’s a story about widow. We don’t know her name, but we do know she showed up to the Temple and literally gave it her all; a sacrifice so great that we still talk about it today.
Read Mark 12:41-44 Here
Funny enough, the only one who notices what she does is The One who does not look at outward appearances but instead he looks at the heart. Jesus tells his disciples, “this poor widow has given all she had to live on.” In the Greek, Mark uses the word bios, the root of biology, the study of life. In other words, this poor widow put in her bios, her entire life, into God’s care. And this gets Jesus’ attention.
Her story is important because she is the perfect example of what it means to live the gospel. She trusts God so completely that nothing else matters. She gives without fear or worry, trusting instead on her faith. She gives God her all, believing and knowing God will do the same.
We are the coins, the real offering God wants. In the eyes of the rich and powerful, we might not be worth much. But in the eyes of God, we are priceless. God does not look at the size of your wallet, God looks at the size of your heart. A true offering is much more than an act of giving; it’s an act of being present with God and for God.
This leads us to the third character in Mark’s story, Jesus. He knows a little something about being with and for God. And like the widow, he certainly know what it means to give all that he has.
The Bible tells us that out of great love for the world, God gave us Jesus, who in turn gave his life, all of it, for you and me. His ego, his heart, his time, his blood, sweat, and tears – Jesus gave us his bios, his entire being, so we could be redeem and return to our rightful place as God’s beloved children.
Jesus gave up all that he had so that we can live fully and faithfully with and for God’s grace. This is hard to do, if you don’t trust God like this nameless widow.
Her trust in God is aligned with Jesus’ trust. And together their stories reveal the true cost of discipleship – the giving over of one’s self to God so completely and faithfully that there’s nothing left but the Divine image that has been imprinted each one of our hearts.
The giving of the self for God and others is central to Jesus’ vision of discipleship. By giving God everything, the good and bad, the worthy or unworthy, we let go of things that keep us from truly becoming one with Jesus – and with one another.
Hidden in this story is a reminder that the kingdom of heaven is not something we bet on, but something we are able to live right now if we just give it all over to God.
Mark doesn’t tell us how the widow’s story ends. We don’t know if the disciples took money out of their own purse to help her, or if she entered the temple for the last time, to offer her final prayer.
However, what we do know is this: She is a child of God. And like her, we are worth more to God than money or anything else we can imagine or put value on.
Her place in the world isn’t based on material wealth or status. It’s grounded in the faithfulness of God’s promise. She is able to take a leap of faith because she knows in her heart that God has a deep concern for the care and wellbeing of the widows and orphans, and the most vulnerable in our societies.
She’s also putting her trust in us, a faith community who desires to be like Jesus who taught, “Whoever wants to be first must be last, and must a servant of all.” In being a living example of God’s pure love, Jesus shows us the many ways we can give all we have to help and care for those who have nothing to give in return.
In the telling of her story, Mark reminds us that everything we have is God’s already. I can’t give God anything other than myself.
I can be present with God in all aspects of my life and be the offering God desires the most. And I can be here for God, without holding anything back for others.
I can do this because I trust and believe in my heart that God’s words are faithful and true.
God calls us to a gospel life: a life of love, grace, forgiveness and peace. A life where we can have it all, and a life we can give it all away for the sake of God’s kingdom.
As a beloved Child of an all-loving, ever faithful God, you are the gift.
My challenge to you this week is simple; Go out and be the gift of God’s sacrificial love; the gift that keeps on giving. Put your entire self into action – doing small things with great love.
For you never know who’s watching you do it.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”