Outward Giving


Outward giving should reflect the selfless living of a surrendered heart.

Mark 12.28-44

In a remote location in Central America, word got out among the people of some sad news. A much-loved, elderly American missionary, who had served in that area for many years, was about to retire. She would return to the United States to live out the remaining years of her life.  The people decided to honor her for her years of service with a public show of appreciation. News of the event traveled to all parts of the country, even the most remote villages where the missionary was known to the people. One such village was located an especially long distance away.

In order to attend the celebration, someone from that village would have to walk over mountainous terrain for four solid days. There were no roads. There were no airports. And the missionary knew this. That's why, when she spotted a very old and very poor man from that village among those presenting gifts, she was deeply moved. He held in his wrinkled hands two large coconuts, and she was deeply moved for she knew that was all he had. As he approached the make-shift platform to present his meager gift, she embraced him and said, AI cannot believe that you would walk so far to present me with a gift. But it was his response that was most memorable. With a proud voice and knowing look he said, a long walk part of gift. The gift of sacrifice. A gift from the heart. Those are the best kinds. And that's just what Jesus is saying in this reading.

All through this passage, Jesus is getting to the heart of the matter.  From the most important commandment – to the divinity of the Messiah – to the inward motivation of outward giving.  Actually, it’s that last teaching that caught my attention.

In verse 41 of chapter 12 we’re told that Jesus went over to the Temples collection box, sat down, and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. I think it’s important to note that only God has the right to do this. And so, Jesus did. He watched as many rich people proudly put in large amounts. And I think they were probably glad He was watching. But then came a widow… a poor, possibly elderly, destitute woman that made her way to the collection box.  And when Jesus noticed in her wrinkled hands, two small coins, He was deeply moved.

He called his disciples to Him and said, I assure you, this poor widow has given more than all the others have given. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.

Mark 12:43, 44

A gift from the heart.  While the others gave what they'll never miss, she gave what she couldn’t afford.  She gave her all.  For those two coins represented more than just a minute fraction of the days collection. They represented an open heart to a loving God.  Her life of surrender was a part of the gift.

Outward giving should reflect the selfless living of a surrendered heart. A heart that looks at a need and sees an opportunity to give. A heart that would go any distance just to show inestimable love.

A heart that's just like His.







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