Two Coins In A Trumpet:Peek a Boo,He’s Watching You:Mark 12:41-44

Mark.12:41-44.And Jesus sat over against the treasury,and beheld(gazed intently) how the people cast their money into the treasury:and many that were rich cast in much.And there came a certain poor widow,and she threw in two mites,which made a farthing.And he called unto him his disciples,and saith unto them,Verily I say unto you,That this poor widow hath cast more in,than all they which have cast into the treasury:For all they did cast in of Their abundance;but she of her want did cast in all that she had,even all her living.

The story is told of a circus strong man who had very powerful hands.One of the things that he would do is take an orange before the crowd and squeeze it with his bare hand until every drop of juice came out.And then he dared the audience to find another drop because of how strong he was.So he would squeeze it and every drop would be rung out.Big men would come up and and try to squeeze it more,but to no avail.There would be no more juice to come out.On one ocassion a real skinny man came up and said,”I would like to try.” They laughed but gave him orange.He took one hand and with all the strength he could muster up,he squeezed it and to the shock of the strong man and the crowd there was a drop of orange juice that dripped out.They couldn’t believe it.They said,”how in the world were you able to squeeze out another drop of orange juice?Where did you get that power?” He said,”It’s easy,I’m the local treasurer for the Baptist church down the street.” “I know how to squeeze stuff out of folks.”

It is unfortunate that far too many churches must squeeze out of people in this area of stewardship.They’ve got to beg and hit folks over the head in order to squeeze out the last drop.Collection after collection.Attempt after attempt to simply break even.Pastor Tony Evans said,”When that happens,something is drastically wrong with the heart.When God has to squeeze out of us praise,time and service——when He has been this good-something is wrong and it is a matter of the heart.”

Jesus is concerned about the motivation behind our giving…..the matter of the heart related to our stewardship and he uses the indicater of money,because money was what he saw as that which really indicated where a person’s heart was.Jesus said,”For where your treasure is ,there will your heart be also.{Matt.6:21}.It was not that he was interested in money per-say.But money and how you use it is a good indicater.In your car and my car we have indicater lights.When the car is running low on gas a light comes on and lets you know.There is not a light problem,but that there is a bigger problem. Or when the engine is overheated,the light comes on,not because there is a light problem,but because there is an engine problem.The light is an indicater of something worse inside.So Jesus would use the sensitive area of money…because one in every six verses that he ever spoke raised the question of money…not because money was the issue……….but it was a light that showed where the heart was, because God knows that the last thing a person will give up is their money.It was a light,an indicater of where the heart was.{Illustration from Pastor Tony Evans}.

The Bible is clear that God in heaven is watching carefully how we live.Ethel Waters used to sing the song, His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches you.It is a great encouragement to know that no matter where I go,or what I do,my heavenly Father is watching over me,understanding my needs,and caring for me.But there is another side to that.God is not only watching over my life for my protection;.He is also watching over my life to evaluate it.

One of the last public act of Christ’s ministry was neither a sermon or a miracle…but an evaluation. Mark12:41-42.

There were 13 treasuries in the court yard of the Temple,shaped like a tall box,with a trumpet coming out of it much like that on the old RCA pictures.When a man cast money into it,it was possible to make the coins roll around,and be heard all over the Temple.

Christ thought this action was important,for half of his parables were devoted to the issue of money.Fifteen per-cent of everything He said recorded in scripture has to do with our attitudes and actions with finances.He beheld-gazed upon them as though they were a form of theater.He was close enough to see who threw in much and who tossed in little.The Lord even noticed the two coins coming from the withered hand of a widow and created an object lesson for his disciples .What does God look for when he watches the treasury?

1.The Cirumstances from which we give.

Jesus was a great observer of human experience in general.But he also had an eye for the individual.This wonderful little story illustrates both of these qualities.It describes a woman whose devotion to the Lord stands in marked contrast to that of the educated theologians who had proved to be such a thorn in Jesus’ side.{Sinclair Ferguson.Let’s study Mark}.

Here was a contrast—-one poor widow—-and many wealthy people She was a pauper,one who must eke out a living each day.God knew all about that widow and he knows all about each of us.He knows the circumstances from which we give.He knows if we have much or if we have little.We often say to the poor,”God doesn’t expect you to give…..you have so little.” But that is not how God designed the church.Our faith is revealed n our giving,whether we have much or little.She gave out of her poverty because she understood that God saw what she had.The Lord knows the circumstances from which we give.

2.The Amount that we give.

She gave two mites….A widow is indeed poor if she has only two mites(lepta).The lepta was a tiny copper coin with the least value of any in circulation in the time of Jesus,about one-eighth of a Roman  assarion.The two lepta are said to be worth a quadrans,the smallest Roman coin.Four quandans equal an assarion which was worth one-sixteenth of a denarius.If a day laborer earned a denarius for a days wages (Matt.20:2),this woman has one-sixty-fourth of that wage.If this is all she has to live on,she is indeed destitute.The two mites represented the widow,for she gave more than all they which have cast into the treasury(v.43).She put in her entire life.

A pastor made an appeal for a worthy cause.A lady in the church gave a check for $50.00.She asked the pastor,”Is that enough? The pastor replied,”Of course,if it represents you.” She took the check back and wrote another check for $5,000.”This check represents me,and I’m happy to give it to the Lord.”Remember,the Lord cares about the amount we give because it represents us.

3.The appraisal of what we give.v.43.And he called unto him his disciples,and said unto them,Verily I say unto you,That this poor widow has cast more in,than all they which have cast into the treasury.

Jesus said to his disciples,”Come over here,you have got to see this.”So stunned was Jesus by what he saw that he called a congregational gathering of his fellow preachers and said,”Did you see that?” Did you see what I just saw?”He was so overwhelmed that he couldn’t stand to look at by himself.He didn’t want them to miss the widow.Jesus fixes his attention on her.Why? Because she gave more.v.43.

Those words must have shaken up his disciples.They had watched the wealthy give.The Lord said the two mites are worth more.He explained….v.44.Her whole livelihood.The wealthy gave out of their surplus.The widow gave out of her…life.The gifts given by the wealthy did not touch life at all….but the widow’s gift touched the very core of her being.

God doesn’t evaluate our giving by what we…give.He evaulates our giving by what we…have.2.Cor.8:12.For if there be first a willing mind,it is accepted according to that a man hath,and not according to that he has not.

A study revealed that people who make less than $10,000 per year give the greatest per-centage of their income to the things of God.Economic prosperity can become a curse.In Romania 95% of the believers who face the test of persecution pass it,while 95% of those who face the test of prosperity fail it.This was true of Israel.Whenever they were hungry and persecuted they turned to the Lord.But whenever they experienced peace and prosperity they turned toward evil.Hosea.13:6.According to their pasture,so were they filled;they were filled,and their heart was exalted;therefore have they forgotten me.

4.The lesson for what we give.

When Jesus visited the treasury that day,he saw many people giving of their abundance,but he took note of one poor widow who gave God all she had.

When these two types of people are shown in contrast,we can better see the example we are to follow.The Bible often reveals two contrasting individuals to help us see the truth.

The generous Abraham is contrasted with the greedy Lot,and it was the generous man who succeeded.The Big hearted Barnabas is contrasted with the self-centered actions of Ananias and Sapphira.The unselfish Mary is contrasted with the selfish Judas.

The scriptures often present the truth by revealing the contrast of two people.When we read about the widow in Mark.12,we see a woman who trusts completely in God,who gave everything she had to him,because she knew He would care for her.

We have trusted God with our eternal souls,can’t we trust him with our temporal riches?

A man complained to his pastor about not having any money left over for God after paying his bills.The pastor replied,”Would you be willing to trust God to take care of you,tithe every month and bring me whatever bills you that you can’t pay?” Of course the man quickly agreed to that plan.The pastor said,”It is strange that you would trust me,an imperfect man to care for your needs,but you will not rust Almighty God,who gave his Son to die on a cross.When it comes right down to it,we either trust God to take care of us,or we trust in our money.

The widow saw past the treasury box,past the poverty of her own life,and peered into eternity.She understood that the things worth living for are not in this world.The wealthy lived for this world,but the widow lived for the next.Every person is either moving toward the treasury or away from it.If we spend our life in the pursuit of wealth we waste it,racing away from the true treasure of heaven.But the person whose treasures are locked away in eternity has every reason to rejoice,whether things in this life are easy or hard….for that person has learned to trust in the faithfulness of God,who is watching us as we approach the treasury.

Randy Hyde in his sermon,”Catching Christ’s Attention”,writes,”She caught Jesus’ attention.Jesus was taken with her gift,because he was about to do the same,but not with coins in his pocket.Jesus never carried any money.He was about to do what this poor widow did—-except in his case it would be his life that he would give and the treasury would come in the form of a wooden cross.She caught his attention because she gave everything she had and he was about to do the same….will we do it.?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Comments on “Two Coins In A Trumpet:Peek a Boo,He’s Watching You:Mark 12:41-44”

  1. pastorinthewoods Says:

    That is good enough to get you the finance committee chairmanship.


  2. Pastorinthewoods,
    I have no ladders to climb.I can say with MLK,”I’ve been to the mountain top.”

  3. Chalres Says:

    Good word Bill, I especially like the way you brought us back to the cross of Christ,the ultimate giver.


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