Today we are reading from Mark 12: 38-44:
38 As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39 and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! 40 They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
41 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
I wanted to share these two sections together because I want you to see the contrast Jesus is making here. First, we see the religious leaders, who make a show of their religions. They love the trappings of their robes and the respect that gives them.
Let me say something first. Jesus is not condemning religious garb, He is condemning its wrong use. We know Jesus wore some of the garb Himself as scripture talks about the hem of his garment. This would have been one prayer knots the leaders would have worn. We also know He had a seamless garment as the soldiers gambled for it at the cross.
So, Jesus would have had some of the same clothes as they did. But Jesus used His position and the respect it afforded Him not to take advantage of others, but to help and lift up others. How do we use these positions God has given us? To help or to destroy?
We see what the religious leaders do, they destroy widows for the sake of appearances They make a big deal of their offering. It’s all for show.
But the widow who has so very little, and who the law instructs these religious leaders to care, she gives so very little but is rewarded because her gift was not for show. It was for faithfulness.
Why do we do what we do? For show or for faithfulness?
God has given us possessions, relationships, so very much. Do we use what He has given to help others or for our own pride and selfishness?
Is our religion a matter of the heart or a matter of external appearances?
Do we do it for show or for faithfulness?
One will be rewarded. One condemned. May we choose the faithful path.
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