"More than a Coin"
The topic of giving causes many to cringe. Why? Because we love money and we know that people, churches, and governments are out to take it from us. But when we examine giving in light of what Jesus says concerning this widow, we all might learn a lesson or two.
More Than A Coin
A. Jesus was hailed as king when he came in to Jerusalem on Sunday. They lined the streets and shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” It was the beginning of the last week Jesus would have before he went to the cross. It must have been a spiritual high for his disciples. Jesus was finally getting the recognition. Maybe, just maybe, this is when he would usher in his kingdom that he has talked about. By the way, James and John have a request; mom will help express it to Jesus. “Let my boys sit on your right and left when you come in your kingdom.”
B. That week would have Jesus challenging the religious leaders more publicly than ever before. Every day at the temple Jesus would teach. People would watch. The Pharisees and Sadducees would grow in their anger. Yet Jesus would continue day by day that week.
C. After one confrontation, Jesus went and sat down opposite the treasury of the temple. Now this place was in or close to the court of women . There were a number of trumpet shaped coffers that people put money into for different reasons. It is there that we hear another teaching from Jesus. But before we do, I want you to think about money and God.
I. Money and God
A. The topics of money, giving, spending, what you own, how you live, how much of a budget this church has, taxes in our country all cause many of us to get a little churned up inside. Sometimes, even the mention of the topic of how a Christian should view their wealth causes us to get defensive.
B. The truth of the matter is, everyone in this room is rich. Some are richer than others, but I don’t know of anyone in this room who is homeless, malnourished, without the comfort of clothes, basic medical needs, and many other things that we take as entitlements that many in other areas of the world lack. Yes, we are rich. Don’t let Satan confuse our wants with our needs. It is how we see these entitlements that Jesus is going to challenge today.
C. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said you cannot serve two masters. He then give an example by saying you cannot serve both God and materialism/money. James says that we quarrel and fight over things we covet. Paul would say that love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Money, wealth, coveting, greed, and worldly desires are all topics that Jesus and the writers of the NT warn disciples about.
D. Do you remember the story of the man who came to Jesus who wanted to know what to do to inherit eternal life and was told to go and sell all he had, give it to the poor, then come and follow Jesus? You see, that man went away sad because he was very rich. He loved his money and I too have suffered from such evil love. The poor can be just as greedy and covetous as the rich. Possession is not the issue, the heart’s desire for more is the issue.
E. As we come back to our reading, I want you to take a look at the verses just prior to Jesus watching what was happening at the temple treasury. Listen to Luke 20:45-47. Mark and Luke both put this together and since there is a chapter break we often don’t connect them. But we are going to see those verses played out in teaching from the treasury.
II. More Than A Coin
A. I sometimes call something a sacrifice that is nothing more than a gift from my abundance. A sacrifice has more meaning than just an offering. It is statement about how you value something or someone. The reason a young man spends way too much money on an engagement ring is because he so values that young lady that he wants her to know and experience his extravagance. It is a sacrifice that he is honored to give. This widow came and gave all she had. It was reckless! It was extravagant. It was a true sacrifice, not from abundance.
B. When David sinned in his old age by numbering the people, the wrath of God came upon him heavy. 70,000 people died because of his sin. When God relented, David wanted to offer a burnt offering at that spot. The land was not his, and was offered to David for nothing to build an altar and offer the sacrifice. But David responded, “I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that which costs me nothing.” (2 Sam. 24:24)
C. When this woman came to the temple, we don’t even know for sure why she was there. Did she come to the court of women to worship God, but could only go so far? Did she come to offer a sacrifice as Passover was soon to come? Did she come because as a poor widow she knew that God would always watch over her? There at the treasury she put in two small coins. The value of those coins was insignificant in comparison to what others were giving. Yet, the value of those two coins was worth far more in the eyes of Jesus than what the others were giving. Why? Because she sacrificed and they simply gave from their abundance.
D. The heart of this woman is that of trust and confidence that God will always take care of her. In their Jewish system, the poor and the widows were supposed to be supported. We know that some took advantage of them and caused them to lose their homes, but this woman was not about hold herself back because of what others might do to her. She gave it all.
A. I am not standing before you today asking for any money. I am not going to try and put anyone here on a guilt trip about your giving, your spending habits or what you own. That would be manipulation and God does not call me to get you to give. God calls me to teach what Paul calls “a living sacrifice.” (Rom. 12:1-2) God will still be God whether I put in money or don’t. God doesn’t need my money to be God. He simply asks me to view all that I have as a blessing from Him to be used for His glory.
B. This teaching from Jesus challenges me to view God with extravagance and sacrifice. In just a few days after this story, Jesus would face the pain of betrayal, the pain of beatings, the pain of humiliation, the pain of taking upon himself my personal sin, the pain of the cross. Jesus, like this woman, gave all he had. He did it to glorify the Father. He did it to save me.
C. How can I look at my prized possessions and think that I deserve any of them. Everything I have is a gift from God. I own nothing but am responsible for everything He has given me. I can be a living sacrifice or I can hide my talent and serve no one. This widow simply puts my riches into perspective. The choice of how live each day as a sacrifice is something you also must decide.