Sunday, 8 November 2009

Mark 12:44 - ‘from the little she had has put in everything she possessed’


It’s funny how some things that the Lord tells us seems to mean more to him than others. Surely, more important to where the Gospel writers are coming from; everything the Lord says must be important you would think? Yet even Jesus seems to have his favourite subjects.

Jesus is watching a woman in the Temple; one of the little ones; the poor ones; the ‘don’t really matter’ ones and perhaps, as he is watching her, he is reminded of his own mother. Perhaps he is reminded of the scrimping and saving that she had to do before and after Joseph’s death. After all; there was no likelihood that they were a well-off family. Joseph was no more than an odd-job man and their place in the community is suggested by the comments of those who hear Jesus preach – ‘this is only the carpenter’s son’, ‘only Mary’s son’ – with the veiled addition of ‘who does he think he is?’

Yet it seems that Jesus is certainly brought up to be a good Jew; to know about the traditions of his faith; to know them but not to understand them and not always to accept them.

At the beginning of this, Jesus says ‘I tell you most solemnly…’ I love that phrase. It’s a ‘look at me when I’m talking to you. I’m not ‘one of the lads’ now’ phrase.

Because, to the ‘lads’ it will have been a little thing; a non-event. Widows give pennies every day, rich men give more – that’s the way the world is. We see success and generosity in £ signs rather than percentages. We find it hard to appreciate that 100% of very little is still 100%.

But if we give all we have – no matter what – what more is there? And whilst the world may hardly notice, God thanks us.
it’s a compelling thought that, rather than sitting enthroned in splendour at the front of the church being feted by the church-ians, God actually spends His time at the back, in the shadows, watching as all the little goodness’s, sacrifices and graces are carried out by the unassuming, unknown, undervalued Christians in the community; who are giving all they have.


All I have

This, I think, is where it gets difficult. Many of us are committed to our faith, we do go to church; we do give to charity; we do try to help others. How hard it is, then, to think that we may still not be doing enough.

But surely there are limits on what we can give and still live with all the family and personal needs that we have.

Is there a point to making ourselves poor?
Is the main thing that we give what we can?
Is it that we resolve each time to give more?
Is it that we give knowing that it is not enough and still give?
Is that we do not call attention to ourselves when we give?
Is it that God will take what we have – when we’ve got it?
Is it that God will not ask for more than we can give?
Does it matter where our giving comes from; love or guilt?
How do you decide which is the most worthy cause?
What if the cause turns out not to be genuine?

I don’t have answers to any of these questions –

but they are certainly worth thinking about this week.
You may have some of your own.

And if you get an answer – let me know!


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