TO CHEW ON: "'Beware of the scribes … who devour widows' houses …. Assuredly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury.'" Mark 12:38,40,43
In our reading in Mark today the message seems to be "Watch out—all is not as it appears." Jesus has just had a discussion with a scribe who got it right (Mark 12:32-34). But for the most part, these religious leaders were in Jesus' bad books because of their pretentious behavior (long robes, effusive greetings, going after the best seats). Their elevated place in society was permission, it seemed, for doing things that were downright evil (preying on the most vulnerable—widows).
It's no mistake that the person Jesus next drew the disciples' attention to was a widow—the very class that the scribes oppressed. Jesus watched her give her pittance into the treasury and then said, " '… this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury' " - Mark 12:43.
How so? She only gave 2 mites (the smallest coin in circulation).
Because proportionately it was more. It was her all. Perhaps she was one of those widows whose house had been devoured by a scribe. Whatever the reason for poverty and despite her poor clothes and low status her heart was right and she stayed generous toward God.
This incident has lessons for us.
- Let's not let social custom or status blind us to wrongdoing—our own or someone elses.
- Let's examine our behaviors for pride and a desire to be seen doing the right things, in the right places, so that we're welcomed and cultivated by the right people.
- Let's remember, though people can be fooled, God can't. Just as Jesus saw through the behavior of the scribes and widow, He sees down into us and understands us even better than we understand ourselves.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, please help me to know myself, to become aware of my own devious attempts at showing off and getting honor, to understand how repulsive these things are to You. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.