Read: Mark 12:41-44
For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on. (v. 44)
We usually read Jesus’ final words here as Jesus’ way of commending this widow for sacrificially giving every last thing she had to live on. How many sermons don’t conclude with “And so, beloved, we too should give until it hurts as this widow did”?
But what if Jesus’ tone of voice was different? What if he sounded angry, disgusted? What if Jesus was saying not that it was good that she had given her all but that she should not have felt obligated to do that in the first place? Indeed, we know that the religious establishment in Jesus’ day did not follow God’s ways very well, including when it came to taking care of widows and other vulnerable members of society. God does not expect a widow to feel obligated to give her last penny and then go home and starve. Had the temple been doing its job, this woman would have been told, “You, dear woman, need not give to us—in fact, we will give to you!”
Jesus had a keen eye for the down-and-out of his day. He gravitated toward them and they always found their way to him, too. The message was always the same: God has a soft spot in his heart for the lonely and the vulnerable. As Jesus’ followers, we need his kind of eyesight, too.
Open our eyes, Lord, to see those whom others don’t and to bring them your love.
Author: Scott Hoezee