Mite or Might

Mark 12: 42 – 44

And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. And calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, his poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”

This is a familiar story to many of you. None the less, I am hoping we can allow this narrative, and its meaning, to sink deeper into our spirits today. This woman’s act certainly got Jesus’s attention. Why?

There was nothing to be criticized in what the other contributors did but there was something different about the donation of the widow. What was so special about what she did that it caused Jesus to stop and comment? Here is another question – why in the world did she give her last penny, what was it that caused her to give all that she had? That which she gave was all that she had to live on. Think about that for a moment. Better still, try to put yourself in her position. If you didn’t have much how would you feel about giving to anyone, even the Lord? What if all you had was your last dime? Could you, would you put your last farthing in the till? I confess that I would find that a difficult thing to do. Our natural impulse is to take care of ourselves first.

Let’s try to get into this woman’s head? What was it about this lady that caused her to toss her last centavo into the plate knowing she would have nothing later with which to buy bread? Wasn’t this almost like signing her own death warrant? Maybe she wasn’t absorbed with taking care of herself first because she knew that it was not her job to meet her needs. Could that possibly be the case? Could it possibly be that her love for the Lord was greater than her self-preservation instinct? How about this, was she, perhaps, trying to meet her need by sowing into the kingdom? Did this Jewish woman know, in her heart, something few modern day believers understand? That penny wasn’t worth much as provision but it was invaluable as seed. Jesus taught us that the entire kingdom of God is contained in the smallest of seeds (Mark 4: 30 – 32).

I do not know what inspired this woman but I do know that it was a significant enough event that Jesus called his disciples over to witness it. It certainly is a humbling passage. Although Jesus made a point of isolating the incident for his disciples and for us, he did little to explain it. Perhaps this is one of the points in our walk with Jesus which he designed as a “Selah” moment, a time to pause and reflect. Maybe the full account of this event is meant to be explained by the Lord himself in the still, quietness of our hearts. One thing is for sure, this woman and her unselfish gift live on in distinction and are a quiet testimony to each of us.

A Kingdom in a Seed

Mark 4: 30 – 32

And He said, “How shall we picture the Kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade.”

Jesus was trying to illustrate the Kingdom of God for us. He compared the Kingdom of God to a seed, and not just any seed, but the smallest of all seeds. He tells us, though, that once this seed is sown, it yields the greatest harvest of any seed of the garden. The mustard plant not only yields a food crop, as do the other garden plants, but it also provides shelter and protection for the birds. God is telling us that we need sow only a small seed in order to reap a large harvest, a harvest which will provide our food as well as our protection and shelter. Everything we need is contained in that small seed. Operating in the Kingdom of God is easier and more fruitful than operating in the world. The world is like the rest of the garden where you labor and yet reap a smaller crop. The Kingdom of God operates in faith and efficiency. You can sow smaller seeds and yet gain all that you need.

As you meditate on this scripture, you will find more and more depth in it. Read it then think about it then re-read it. Remember, this is Jesus trying to demonstrate the Kingdom of God to us so it is probably in our interest to glean all of the understanding from this that we can.