This morning was Sacrifice Sunday at Seaford Baptist. I wrote my thoughts about it last night, you can find those here. But today I want to review a bit of the sermon that was preached regarding sacrifice.
Pastor Dennis preached on Mark 12:41-44, a very familiar passage if you are one who has grown up in church. I remember it being a “Flannagraph” story, with a hunched over old woman putting one coin in (because the other flannalgraph coin always seemed to be missing)
I’ll let Scripture tell you the story:
41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
What struck me about this story this morning, is that there was no interaction between Jesus and the widowed woman. None. Jesus seized the opportunity, the example even, to teach his disciples a critical lesson. A lesson that so very much went against the prevailing thought of the day during that time. And, dare I say also a thought that tends to go against the prevailing thought for this time and age as well?
But back to the fact that there was no interaction between Jesus and this woman. I wonder why? I wonder why he did not approach her, did not acknowledge her, did not bless her or publicly point her out? I wonder why he didn’t even speak to her.
I’ve pondered this off and on all day, and the conclusion I’ve come to is this: Had Jesus approached her, acknowledged her, speak to her, than she would have been publicly exalted for the small gift that she gave. But this woman was giving all that she could, in this two insignificant coins, out of true sacrifice—she did not expect accolades. She did not expect for her giving to be exalted or placed in that very public arena. I think that Jesus knew that to acknowledge and point her out, would remove the very personal and intimate sacrifice between this woman and her God, Yahweh. Instead he wisely quietly observed, used it as a teaching moment for his disciples, and granted her significant honor without disrupting what was most important–that of her sacrifice between she and her God. He knew her soul.
This picture of selfless giving is a tremendous challenge to us today, in this world where we fight and claw to be acknowledged, to win, to receive accolades for the “great sacrifices we make”. But o, how much better; how much more pleasing to God as incense, is this private moment of worship that this woman participates in, as she gives her two mites.
How does that apply to us today? How does it apply to me today? I’m not really sure, except that it causes me to think about the importance of worshipping God through my tithes and offerings. But beyond that, it cuts to my soul that I must have the kind of faith this widow had–faith that could lead her to give everything she’s got in an act of worship that is a beautiful exchange between she and her Heavenly Father.