Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Jesus the people-watcher

Bible story book illustration - Artist unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Mark 11-12; Psalm 100

TO CHEW ON: "So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, 'Assuredly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.'" Mark 12:43-44

I love the story of Jesus and His disciples people-watching—and Jesus' attention caught by a poor widow. She stood out because she put so little into the treasury.

Jesus drew His disciples' attention to her, not to hold her up as an example of stinginess, but generosity. Because of His divine insight, He saw and understood the extent of her gift and praised her as the greatest giver of the day.

This story can speak to us on two levels—as the watcher and the watched.

We watch people—observe what they give (not only money in church but time, hospitality, friendship, service...), and make judgments about them. Without Jesus' interpretation of her act, the disciples may well have drawn a different conclusion about her and her gift. We need to be careful not to jump to judgment on the basis of appearances.

We are also being watched. Realizing that the God who knows our circumstances and motivations is constantly watching us can be comforting or unnerving.

If we give with honesty, integrity, courage and stretched faith out of our love for Him we have the comfort of knowing He sees and appreciates, even if our gifts' outward appearances are small.

Of course if we give with mixed motives—to impress others, or as a down-payment on blessings we hope we'll get from Him, or out of habit or duty, He sees that too and is probably as unimpressed by our gift as Jesus was with the "much" given by the wealthy.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me not to judge people by the appearance of what they give. When I give, please reveal any unworthy motives to me. Amen. 

PSALM TO PRAY: Psalm 100

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.

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