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                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                      The Widow’s Mites (12:41-44)

INTRODUCTION

1. Teaching in the Temple (on Tuesday of the Last Week), Jesus
   addressed...
   a. The doctrines of the religious leaders
   b. The practices of the religious leaders

2. At the end of the day, with the last incident of His public ministry,
   Jesus...
   a. Observed people putting money into the treasury of the temple
   b. Made an observation about the contribution of one poor widow

[Jesus had just warned against pretentious scribes who "devour widows’
houses" (Mk 12:40).  In contrast, consider the remarkable example of one
poor widow...]

I. THE NARRATIVE

   A. PUTTING MONEY IN THE TEMPLE TREASURY...
      1. Jesus observed people placing money in the treasury - Mk 12:41
      2. This may have been one of 13 receptacles, in the area known as
         The Women’s Court
      3. These receptacles were marked, indicating how the money would
         be used (temple tribute, wood, sacrifices, incense, etc.)

   B. THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE RICH...
      1. Many who were rich gave large amounts - Mk 12:41
      2. That in itself was commendable, reminiscent of the first
         contributions for the tabernacle - cf. Exo 35:20-29; 36:2-7

   C. THE CONTRIBUTION OF THE WIDOW...
      1. One poor widow threw in two ‘mites’ (Grk., leptos) - Mk 12:42
      2. Worth a ‘quadrans’ (Grk., kodrantes), which was 1/64th of a
         ‘denarius’ (a day’s wage)
      3. If a day’s wage was $25, a ‘quadrans’ would be worth 75 cents,
         a ‘mite’ 40 cents

   D. THE OBSERVATION OF JESUS...
      1. The widow gave more than all who had given to the treasury - Mk
         12:43
      2. They gave out of their abundance, she gave all she had, her
         entire livelihood - Mk 12:44

[Jesus was so impressed, He called His disciples.  He stressed the
importance of His observation by prefacing His remarks with "Assuredly,
I say to you".  In the spirit of His observation, here are...]

II. SOME OBSERVATIONS

   A. A LESSON FOR DISCIPLES...
      1. Note that Jesus "called His disciples to Himself" - Mk 12:43
      2. This indicates that the teaching was intended for them and for
         all subsequent disciples - J.A. Brooks (NAC)
      -- What can we learn from the example of the widow’s mites?

   B. THE VALUE OF A GIFT...
      1. It is well to remember that God measures giving, not by what we
         give, but by what we keep for ourselves; - R.A. Cole (TNTC)
      2. The value of a gift is not the amount given, but the cost to
         the giver. - J.R. Edwards (PNTC)
      3. God measures the gift by the sacrifice involved (cf. 2Sa
         24:24). - A. Black (CPNIVC)
      4. The Lord estimates giving by our motive, our means, and by how
         much we have left. This is a great encouragement to those who
         have few material possessions, but a great desire to give to
         Him. - Believer’s Bible Commentary
      -- We learn that the liberality of the poor is often greater than
         that of the rich!

   C. THE IMPORTANCE OF A PERSON...
      1. What matters in God’s sight is not what a person has
      2. But the devotion which causes one to give even at great
         personal cost
      3. Thus even the poorest of the poor can be "rich" (in faith)
         - cf. Jm 2:5
      -- We learn that people should be measured by their faith, not
         their wealth!

   D. THE APPROVAL OF VOLUNTARY POVERTY...
      1. Many today would criticize the widow
         a. For not providing for her future
         b. For her lack of foresight and prudence
         c. For becoming dependent upon Israel’s welfare system -  cf.
            Deut 24:19-21; 26:12-13
      2. Yet her voluntary poverty is just one example found in the
         Scriptures
         a. Jesus chose a life of voluntary poverty - Lk 9:58
         b. He counseled some to do the same in their service as a
            disciple - Lk 18:22
         c. Teaching His disciples to be trust God’s providential care
            - Mt 6:31-33
      -- We learn that voluntary poverty can be a viable option for some
         disciples

   E. JESUS IS STILL WATCHING HOW PEOPLE GIVE...
      1. The ‘giving’ of Ananias and Sapphira did not go unnoticed - cf.
         Ac 5:1-11
      2. Those who give liberally and cheerfully will be noticed - e.g.,
         2Co 8:1-5; 9:6-7
      3. Just as all that we do is noticed by God - He 4:13
      -- We learn that our giving does not escape the careful eye of our
         Lord!

CONCLUSION

1. The story of the widow’s mites should prompt prayerful reflection...
   a. Regarding our own giving to the Lord’s cause, to charity
   b. We may think we excel at giving, but do we really?

2. The story of the widow’s mites also prepares us for what is to come
   in Mark’s gospel...
   a. She exemplified sacrificial giving in the service of the Lord
   b. Soon we will read of the Lord who gave all in service to us!

   "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He
   was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His
   poverty might become rich." - 2Co 8:9
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