The Widow’s Gift

In Audio, Sermons by Geoff Chapman

Mark 12:38-42

The widow’s gift of two tiny coins – her “whole life” – reprises one or Mark’s major themes, that following Jesus means being ready to give your whole life to him.   Her particular story brings this out in two ways:

  1. In giving both of her coins, the Widow shows she has an undivided heart. This shows us that no matter our situation or calling in life, God calls every Christian is to have an undivided heart.  Like in a marriage, we are to make a total gift of our lives to God (Rom 6:13) and for the sake of others (1 Pet. 4:10-11, Rom 12:6-8, Luke 12:16ff) holding nothing back. Being focus on making a total gift in love isn’t unrealisitc, but actually gives a beautiful order to our lives, enabling us to make wise decisions in how we use our time and resources so that we can give as much as possible.  We can make this total gift of our lives, by offering God even the seemingly insignificant parts of our lives, asking God for wisdom and right judgement of our own hearts, by making the most of our circumstances, and by asking God to free us from fear.
  1. Give Liberally.  Even though the widow’s actions may have seemed reckless to some, Jesus praised her for giving liberally.  Giving our whole lives to God isn’t just about making dispassionate choices, rather, when we love God and trust him it gives rise to a liberality that desires to give and trust as much as possible.  That liberality may even appear reckless at times, but it leads to true wisdom for several reasons: Firstly, it helps us find our true capacity; it purifies our motives and trains our hearts.; it engages our will in a way that calculated or habitual giving may not, which is essential for love; and it grows our capacity to give by increasing our appetite.   We can practice giving liberally in several ways: by giving to God what we are obliged to give him and what we aren’t, e.g. by worshipping in our free time not just on Sundays for example, offering fasts, free-will offerings above our normal tithe and devotional times beyond our normal routines. We also should give him what is easy and what is hard. And we should always be praying, asking God to show us how to give more and be sensitive to his promptings, even in small things.  Often when we feel to give more of ourselves to God, he will use our obedience to do something powerful.
  1.  Conclusion, “Magnanimity”.  Jesus perceived the true worth of the the various offerings that people made. The value of the widow’s gift didn’t lie in the amount she gave but in her availability to God.  The real treasure in that place was he great-soul, her heart for God. God can do more through one life given completely to him than all of the material wealth we can offer. God call us to be maganimous, great souls, who trust and love him, through which he can pour his love into the world.