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The Widows Two Mites (Mark[12]41-44)

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The Widow’s Two Mites

Text: Mark 12:41-44

Place Preached - (Mississauga International Baptist Church)

Date Preached - (05/31/98)

Introduction:  This message is necessarily about giving. 

The Lord taught more often about money than He did about heaven.

Money was one of the favourite topics of Christ.  On average one reference per chapter for the entire NT.  Money is mentioned on two occasions in Mark 12.

Our giving of course includes financial giving in our tithes and offerings.  Tithes is 10% - Tithe is NT.

It is not only about financial giving however.  It is about sacrifice and committment of life.  Areas of our time & talent as well as our treasure. 

What is your definition of Sacrifice?  How does one properly measure Sacrifice?

The unnamed widow in our text provides an excellent example of what true Sacrifice is.  Let's look at this account and consider her example.

Exposition: As Jesus was in the temple with His disciples, He was observing individuals bringing their gifts to the temple treasury. 

There were thirteen trumpet-shaped receptacles in the court of the women in which to deposit one's offering. 

Many who brought gifts were rich and therefore gave much money.  They deposited silver, gold, brass out of their abundance.  Many of these rich men no doubt made their giving as obvious as possible. They wanted to be seen of men.

I DARE YOU TO DO IT AGAIN

I heard a story of a little church that was having a reunion.  A former member who attended the celebration had worked hard and had become a millionaire.  When he testified about how he had grown in the faith, he related an incident from his childhood.  He said that when he earned his first dollar as a boy, he decided to keep it for the rest of his life.  But then a guest missionary preached about the urgent need on the mission fields.  He struggled about giving his dollar.  "However, the Lord won," the man said proudly, "and I put my treasured dollar in the offering basket.  And I am convinced that the reason God has blessed me so much is that when I was a little boy I gave him everything I possessed."  The congregation was awestruck by the testimony - until a little old lady in front piped up, "I dare you to do it again!"

LOOK UP & READ Matt. 6:1-4

Several points from this passage.

1. If you are giving to have praise from men that is all the reward you will ever have.

2. If you want to be rewarded openly give secretly.

3. Don't let your right hand know what your left hand is doing.  In other words don't slap yourself on the back and allow your giving to become a source of personal pride.  Personal pride can be just as dangerous as public pride.

After the rich men had made their hefty contributions a poor widow came into the temple and threw two mites into the treasury.

What this widow gave were two lepta (Gk.)  The lepton was the smallest Jewish coin in circulation at that time.  The small bronze coin was the equivalent of 1/64 of a Roman Denarius (One day's Wage).

Jesus had observed the rich men who appeared to be very generous.  But Jesus also noticed this widow who was not seeking recognition.

 She gave inconspicously.  Her giving may have been ridiculed by the rich people, but not by Jesus.  In fact he singled her out with words of commendation as he turned to His disciples and instructed them.

He said to them, "That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

With her insignificant gift of two mites she had not only given more than any other single contributor but more than all of them cumulatively. 

How is such a thing possible?

It is possible because the rich folk had given out of their abundance while the woman had given out of her want.  Luke uses the word penury or deep poverty (Luk. 21:4). 

ILLUS: of a widow’s home life, perhaps saddled with debt, responsibility of young children, and low income.

In her state of abject poverty this woman had given all she had.  While the wealthy givers had plenty left from which to sustain themselves the widow had NOTHING!

People say, “I can’t afford to tithe”.  Listen, ‘I can’t afford not to tithe.”

Several important truths or principals concerning sacrifice can be gleaned from this story.

I. Jesus watches OUR GIVING AND sacrifice for him.

He alone as God has authority to do so.

A. He watches what we give

B. He watches how we give

·         The condition of the giver's heart is more important than the size of the gift.

II Cor. 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

It is not that we have to give, but that we get to give!!!

Notice vs.41.  Jesus beheld how they gave, not what they gave.  He was not scrutinizing the physical act of giving, the posture, poise or position in which they gave.  He was looking deeper.  He saw their motives.

What about the widow woman?

The widow's love and devotion were in her gift.  That is what made it so valuable and commendable to God.  The true measure of a gift is not its greatness. but with what love and self-denial it is given.

Notice in a church bulletin, "The Lord loveth a cheerful giver.  He also accepteth from a grouch.

Matt. 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

 

We could also say, for it is implied in that verse; "Where your heart is, there will your treasure go."

We can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving.

II. God does not measure sacrifice by the size of the gift but by it's cost to the giver.

It is not a question of what I have given, but of what I have remaining.  It is not the portion but the proportion of which I give.

Tithing is a completely fair system.  It is a proportionate system

A. II Cor 8:1-3

1   Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;

How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

3  For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;

B. God is not asking the Impossible, but according to our ability

(Mat 25:15 KJV)  And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

This is true financially, ability-wise, & time-wise

III. God is able to multiply that which is invested for Him.

Dr. J. Vernon McGee said, "He took those two mites, and He just kissed them into the coin and the gold of heaven and made them more valuable than anything any rich man ever gave."

A. The Little Boy’s Lunch

(John 6:9 KJV)  There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

B. Song “Little Is Much”

True of treasure, talent & time (Illus: Prayer -when you are busiest you need it most.  God will enable you to get done what is most needed).

C. Illus:  Multiplication through investment in missions.

IV. God will be a debtor to no man.

This principle is not explicit in this passage.  However, it is implicit when we consider the general context of Scripture.

The widow woman gave all her living.  She would now have to trust God to meet her need.  God would not and I'm sure did not fail her.

“God hears when you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel”.

ILLUS: Hagar & Ishmael at Beerlaharoi (Thou God seest me)

Phil. 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

This verse is in the context of those Macedonian Christians who had sacrificed to meet Paul's needs.

At times Sacrifice and Commitment will mean that we are forced to trust God.  When tried God will never dissapoint us.

ILLUS: Sale of 280Z in 1984

(Mal 3:10 KJV)  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Many times we read of God trying His people, but this is the only time in the Bible where God says “Try Me”.

V. God looks for those who will first give themselves to Him.

Let us turn to and read II Cor. 8:1-5

These Christians were a lot like the widow in our text.  They gave out of abject poverty.  They sacrificed in order to give, but the most important thing about their testimony is often overlooked. Notice vs.5 again, "And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord,"

Conclusion: Was Jesus Right? 

From our vantage point of the twentieth century we are able to see just how right He was.

One penny invested in the time of Christ earning a moderate amount of interest, compounding annually, would be an astronomical figure by today. 

I submit to you that this widow's two mites invested for God have been worth far more to the Lord's work than that penny invested for man.

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