Monday, September 30, 2013

It's Not About The Money...

Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on. ~ Mark 12: 41-42

Looking at the young man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. "There is one thing you haven't done [apart from living a morally upright life]," he told him. "Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow follow me." At this the man's face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. ~ Mark 10: 21-22

Most of them were everyday people, neither rich or poor, but financial supporters of the Temple. Some, though, were extremely resourced, and the "have nots" sighed, battled envy, and a tinge of insecurity as they watched, and heard, the large donations of the wealthy hit the bottom of the receptors with a thud. Those negative emotions eased, as one of the town's widows shuffled along at the end of the line. Silently they observed, as her weathered thumb and index finger pulled the drawstring on a worn, puckered, leather pouch. Slowly and stiffly they disappeared into the tiny purse. After a few moments of fumbling they reappeared with two small coins pinched between them. One of the onlookers frowned at the sympathetic figure, and whispered, "Poor thing, thankfully, the rest of us can make up the difference!"

A few feet away sat Jesus--he was taking note, too...

When Jesus spoke, he didn't berate the rich and the middle class, nor did he feel sorry for the widow. What Jesus did feel was a perfect teaching moment for his disciples. They needed continued reinforcement about what life in the Kingdom was about. His point? In her heart, the husband-less woman was giving all she had to God--not what was convenient. She alone, Jesus pointed out, was the commendable exception among the hundreds that filed into the place of worship. The others, said Jesus, gave God what they didn't need. She had given Him all she had.

Another teaching moment took place earlier. (Mark 10: 17-22) It fills out the story of the widow well. A wealthy young man believed he wanted to join the band of thirteen itinerants. Jesus told him, "Sell all you have, give all your money away, and then come follow me." He couldn't bring himself to do it; the cost of follow-ship was too high, the sacrifice to great.

But we must remember, in both of these stories it's not about the money--it's about everything. Just as it was for the Temple givers, and the young man, anything less than all becomes the point where we have walked away. We may even feel sad, but the commitment God requires we deem too much!

Jesus still genuinely loves us, just like he still loved that young man, but when we say "no" to giving our all, we can go no further with Jesus.

It's not about the money, it's about everything.

No comments:

Post a Comment