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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood

 

Counting the Offering

April 28, 2013

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. (Mark 12:41,42, NIV)

Jesus is only three days away from being crucified, yet He takes time to sit down in the temple precincts and watch a procession of people bring their offerings to support God’ work.

He could have been doing so many others things — cramming last-minute lessons into the disciples, conducting mass healings and deliverances, teaching multitudes in the temple plaza or elsewhere, retreating to some lonely place in solitude to contemplate and pray as He approached His passion. But, none of these.

He wanted to watch people give.

He’s still doing that! He watches us as we bring our offerings.

First, He watched the rich people give. The temptation for any religious leader is to scan the donor list and see who the “heavy hitters” are so they can be given special attention and preferential treatment. Jesus watches the big donors also — but not to single them out to curry their favor and continued giving.

Unfortunately, the large donors Jesus watched made a parade of their gifts. They weren’t paying in paper money, credit card or check — for such did not exist in Jesus’ day. They gave in coins — often making a considerable clatter as they ostentatiously dropped them in a clattering, clinking way into the offering box.

Interestingly, Jesus is not concerned with the total given that day. His focus is not on the result, but the process. How sincerely was the money given?

The context for Jesus watching the offering is that it had been preceded in the temple courts by an extensive dialogue with His opponents. That dialogue ended with Jesus excoriating the teachers of the Law for their hypocrisy. Jesus verbally flailed them for showing outward religion without true faith, for demonstrating pride rather than true piety, for focusing on what gains the attention and applause of men rather than from God.

The poor widow comes at the end of a long line of donors. The ones with more magnificent gifts preceded her, giving in order to gain recognition. She had only a little. She knew it. She recognized she belonged at the end of the line, not the front.

She did not, however, let the example of others discourage her. She could have said, “What difference does my little bit make?” Or, “Let the well-to-do take care of the Lord’s work; the Lord will understand if I keep this for myself. I need it more.” She did not display envy or greed because of what others were giving, nor did she feel that the insignificant amount she had to give should be withheld from the Lord’s work.

She came — not to be seen, but because she loved God, sought to honor Him, and was concerned to support the place where worship was given to God.

It’s so easy to get our eyes on others and let their bad example deter us from doing what we should. We must not think of how little we have to offer God, but whether we love Him enough to give what we have. Earth is the only place we can give offerings, because everything has been provided for us in heaven.

 

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, may I love You and Your work so much that I always join those who support Your cause with my offerings.

DR. GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

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2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark


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