Mark 12:43-44 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything–all she had to live on.”
This is a justly famous story, and it seems very fitting that Peter had Mark record it right after talking about hypocritical religious leaders. (verses 38-40) We are entirely prone to judge by externals, when God never does. This woman certainly made no show of her offering, but her faith and devotion were undeniable, and I think the Father pointed it out to His Son, with great love for the widow. Jesus in turn used it to teach this powerful lesson to His disciples, and through them, to all the generations to follow. This woman certainly has a place of honor in heaven! This is indeed a challenge to everyone of faith. How much do we trust God? How truly do we believe that He is Yahweh Yireh, (commonly mispronounced as Jehovah Jireh) our Provider? (Genesis 22:14) It was pointed out to me many years ago that people will say, “All I had to depend on was God,” as though that were a bad thing! There is actually no place of greater security! We believe, as abstract fact, that God created everything and nothing is impossible for Him, but we have trouble believing in practical terms that He is going to meet our needs. That has been true ever since the Garden of Eden. That’s why Jesus taught on the issue so often. This is one of those instances, but probably the most famous is what He said in the Sermon on the Mount: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) We quote that and even sing it, but do we really believe it? This widow, seeking God, gave Him all she had to live on. We have no record of how He did it, but I’m sure He met her needs beautifully.
I have experienced God’s provision more times and in more ways that I could write, certainly in this post. I’ve been encouraged to write an autobiography, and someday I may get around to it, but here I just want to say that I serve an incredibly gracious, generous God. I have told many times how it was in a time of notable poverty for us that we committed ourselves to tithing, not at the end of the month but as soon as money came in, and we’ve never been that poor since. I feel some empathy with that widow! Our cash flow has certainly seen its ups and downs, and at times I have panicked, but God has met every need on His schedule. Sometimes that schedule has caused me a lot of anxiety, but that was simply to grow my faith and teach me not to be presumptuous. I doubt that my death will bring any kind of financial jackpot to my heirs, but I’m pretty happy about my investments in heaven. As a pastor, some of the greatest problems in this church have come from people who couldn’t really believe that “Where God guides, He provides.” (That’s from a refrigerator magnet, not the Bible, but it’s true!) We’ve had several people actually leave the church over the issue. I worry that my testimonies of God’s provision will come across as bragging, but I want to brag on God! I want all of the believers to be active in their obedience to God, not lazy, but truly being anxious for nothing, trusting God for everything. (Philippians 4:6) That is the route to peace in this uncertain world.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You that it applies to more than finances! Help me walk in trusting obedience, today and every day, so that I will be fully useful to You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!