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My Two Cents

Mark, Part 6  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Today, I want to give you my two cents.
In fact, we just did. You should now be holding in your hands two pennies. They actually came out of our coin jar at home, and don’t worry, we still filled our baby bottle for the PRC.
Pennies are funny things, aren’t they?
There has been an outcry for years over the cost of making pennies, because they are actually more expensive to make than their face value. In 2016, it is reported that the penny cost on average 1.5 cents to make.
In fact, they are worth more melted down and sold than they are if you spend them whole.
However, there is more in those pennies than you realize.
They are now more exp
Most of us have pennies shoved in our car seats and in the dark recesses of our couch cushions.
In fact, the actual cost to produce those pennies in 2016 was around 1.5 cents, so they are
We hear them rattle around in the dryer when we forget to take them out of our pockets, and we rarely give them a second thought.
We find them
Yet, as we see Jesus nearing the end of his life and ministry on earth, he took very special notice of two small, basically worthless coins, because they came from an incredible heart.
This morning, we are picking up our study through Mark in .
As we read this brief but powerful account of Jesus’ teachable moment with the disciples, we are going to glean one main truth: great gifts aren’t measured in dollars; they are measured in dependence.
This morning’s message is going to be a little different. There isn’t going to be a series of bullet points to track; we are just going to walk through the passage and see what Jesus saw and said.
Let’s back up just a bit, though, and pick up some context.
Mark has slowed down over the last few chapters to highlight the conflict Jesus had with the religious leaders in Jerusalem.
The tension is getting worse and worse as the leaders keep trying to trip Jesus up, and every time, he shows himself to be wiser than they are.
Just before Jesus’ observation in the passage we are focusing on, he points out just how hypocritical these leaders are.
Instead of being kind, gentle, spiritual shepherds, they were arrogant, manipulative jerks.
Look at verses 38-40.
He doesn’t have kind words for the spiritual snobs in the mix.
That sets the scene for the encounter we are focusing on this morning.
Read it with me, and then we’ll go through and break it down more.
Read .
While he gets a break from the public teaching, Jesus and his disciples sit down across from the area where people would come and give their tithes and offerings.
Some of this was the temple tax that all the men had to pay, and other gifts were simply freewill gifts and offerings.
The offerings were poured into trumpet-shaped receptacles (NAC).
Rich men, as they came, made sure everyone knew they were making large contributions, just like Jesus said they did in verses 38-40.
People in those days made the same assumption we are guilty of sometimes: we assume that someone who has wealth, and who even gives a lot of money, has a heart right with God.
However, they were simply giving out of rote, tradition, and show.
There was one giver that day who caught Jesus’ eye.
She was probably overlooked by just about everyone else.
After all, look at how she is described in verse 42.
She is a widow - when a man died, it was his estate and his children who took care of his widow. If he didn’t have any money and they didn’t have any kids, there was no way this woman could earn a living.
That’s why we also see that she was a poor widow. Evidently, she had outlived the resources her husband left her and her kids weren’t there to take care of her, so that left her poor.
Out of her poverty, she dropped in two tiny coins. Mark had to explain how much they were worth because these were the least valuable coins in the Roman Empire and weren’t even used everywhere in that day.
However, it was all she had left.
Let me ask you: do you ever feel like that?
Do you ever feel like you are absolutely at the end of your resources, and there is nothing left for you to give?
Maybe you are there financially, which is certainly the most direct application of this passage.
It isn’t the only way this applies, though.
You may be here and feel like you are just about out of time to give. You have so much going on that you don’t know how you could serve God and still get everything done, so you don’t want to sign up to help somewhere.
You may feel like you don’t have gifts like other people, so you can’t do anything worthwhile for the church. You can’t stand up and lead the singing like Karen and others, you don’t teach well, and you really don’t like babies in the nursery, so what can you do?
Whether we are talking about financial giving, giving your time, or using your talents and abilities, let me remind you that great gifts are not measured in dollars; they are measured by dependence.
Isn’t that how Jesus viewed it?
Look at verse 43-44.
What made her gift great?
It wasn’t the monetary value of the gift, it was the heart behind it.
This unnamed, unknown widow who the world overlooked, by putting in her two cents, gave more to the kingdom than any of the rich men who gave thousands of dollars that day.
By giving the last two pennies she had, she put her very life on the line.
I am afraid that reality misses us, because most of us have more than we need.
There was literally nothing left for her at all. She had no spare change lying around the house. She didn’t have a credit card or a Social Security check coming or anything. This was it.
If God didn’t come through for her, she was going to die, and her faith in him was so great, she thought it was worth the risk.
Is that you look at your money? Is that how you look at your time? Is that how you look at the abilities you have?
Jesus said that this is what makes a gift great: how much dependence on God does it require?
I have heard it said this way before: It’s not how much you give, it’s how much you have left over that matters.
When is the last time you felt God leading you to give, financially or otherwise, and the cost scared you because it seemed ridiculous?
The Bible is full of stories of people who gave like this.
() One time, there was a tremendous famine. A widow had a young son at home, and she was out of money and almost out of food.
She had enough oil and flour to make one last cake of bread for them to eat, and then they were going to die.
Elijah, a great man of God, found her while she was collecting firewood to go home and make their last meal.
He tells her that if, instead of making that last meal for her and her son, she would first make him some bread, she would have oil and flour to last throughout the rest of the famine.
She trusted God, gave Elijah the bread, and God provided for her every step of the way.
Let’s look at another example in Scripture where this principle appears. Turn over to ,
As you’re turning, let me bring you up to speed on what’s going on. Paul is writing to the church in a city called Corinth. It was a wealthy town with lots of issues.
A lot of years have passed since Jesus was ministering, and the Christians living in Jerusalem are having a really tough time.
In this particular section, Paul reminds the Corinthians about an offering they are supposed to be giving to the church in Jerusalem.
Now, read how Paul does this. Start in 8:1
Listen to the language in verse 2 - their abundant joy and extreme poverty
2 Corinthians 8:1–5 CSB
We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that was given to the churches of Macedonia: During a severe trial brought about by affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. I can testify that, according to their ability and even beyond their ability, of their own accord, they begged us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in the ministry to the saints, and not just as we had hoped. Instead, they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us by God’s will.
2 corinthians 8:1-
Don’t miss this key principle: they gave themselves first, and then they gave the gift.
This generosity wasn’t reckless or foolish. It was a calculated response to who we know God to be.
That’s what made the gift acceptable: their heart attitude. Paul would go on to clarify that:
2 Corinthians 8:12 CSB
For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.
2 cor 8:
It isn’t the amount you give; it’s the heart behind it.
I am afraid that reality misses us, because most of us have more than we need.
You see, great gifts aren’t measured in dollars, they are measured in dependence.
There was literally nothing left for her at all. She had no spare change lying around the house. She didn’t have a credit card or a Social Security check coming or anything. This was it.
That’s why we give, by the way.
If God didn’t come through for her, she was going to die, and her faith in him was so great, she thought it was worth the risk.
We don’t give because God needs our money.
God’s people started to treat their sacrifices and offerings as though they were doing God a favor, and here was his response:
Psalm 50:9–12 CSB
I will not take a bull from your household or male goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and everything in it is mine.
Is that you look at your money? Is that how you look at your time? Is that how you look at the abilities you have?
God doesn’t need your money.
Jesus said that this is what makes a gift great: how much dependence on God does it require?
We also don’t give because we are trying to build some great empire here.
I have heard it said this way before: It’s not how much you give, it’s how much you have left over that matters.
We prayerfully set a budget annually, expecting every dollar that comes in to be used to help us love God and others in our family, church, community, and world.
When is the last time you felt God leading you to give, financially or otherwise, and the cost scared you because it seemed ridiculous?
These resources do help equip us with a great facility to use as a base for ministry, and they do support me financially so I can devote my time to prayer, preaching, and leading the church to do greater things for Christ than ever before.
() One time, there was a tremendous famine. A widow had a young son at home, and she was out of money and almost out of food.
We tell you to give because that’s how God has called us to express total dependence on him.
She had enough oil and flour to make one last cake of bread for them to eat, and then they were going to die.
As we give back the first 10% of everything he gives us, we are saying “God, this is yours, and I am trusting you to use the rest of it and provide for my every need.”
Elijah, a great man of God, found her while she was collecting firewood to go home and make their last meal.
When we go above that basic level of giving and give sacrificially and generously, we are expressing dependence on him to the point where he has to come through.
He tells her that if, instead of making that last meal for her and her son, she would first make him some bread, she would have oil and flour to last throughout the rest of the famine.
There is so much joy that comes from seeing God meet our needs when we are sacrificing the time, gifts, resources, talents, and more as he leads.
She trusted God, gave Elijah the bread, and God provided for her every step of the way.
Going back to , we see that this is how God designed it to work: he gives us more than we need so we can give it to others, knowing that he will lead others to share their resources when we get in need
2 Corinthians 8:14 CSB
At the present time your surplus is available for their need, so that their abundance may in turn meet your need, in order that there may be equality.
2 cor 8:
Notice, by the way, that none of this comes with the promise that you are going to be happy, healthy, wealthy, and wise.
Jesus didn’t say anything about this woman sowing her seed gift or that there would be $100,000 waiting for her when she got home.
God promises throughout the Bible that he will take care of us, but he never promises us to give us more than what we need.
But really, how can you know that you can trust God to come through for you?
Well, because the story of this woman does more than simply give us a good example.
As Jesus highlighted this woman’s gift, he was pointing to an even greater gift that would be given in a matter of days.
One more verse from :
2 Corinthians 8:9 CSB
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: Though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
You see, Jesus was wealthy. As the Son of God, he had the right to demand all of Creation to bow down before him.
Yet he laid that aside to come and walk with us.
A few days after this conversation, the leaders Jesus confronted finally reached a breaking point. They had Jesus arrested, beaten, and executed by crucifixion.
The Bible tells us that there was more going on than just that, though.
Jesus wasn’t just dying at the hands of Roman soldiers; he was taking all the punishment for every sin you and I have ever commited as he died in our place.
This widow gave what she needed to live, but Jesus gave us his very life.
He traded his life for mine as he died in my place.
Then, as he rose from the dead three days later, he proved that he defeated death itself and now gives me his life, making me richer than any man alive today.
So, why not give that God everything you have, and everything you are today?
Are you holding back your last two cents? Is there some part of your life you’re too scared to let go of?
Maybe you haven’t ever given a tithe, that first 10%, regularly, and you know you need to give, even though you don’t know how you’re going to make it.
Perhaps God is calling you to get involved in what he’s doing in a greater way, whether serving the church or serving the community in some way and you just don’t know how you can make it if you give it up, and you need to surrender that today.
Or maybe you are convinced that what you have to offer is so small, it wouldn’t be missed if you didn’t.
Here’s what I am going to invite you to do today: If you have been holding back from trusting God completely, I want to invite you this morning to come and give your two cents.
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