This teaching is by Rev. Peter Irungu. The main scripture is Mark 12:41-44, where Jesus praises a poor widow who gave two small copper coins as her offering, more than the rich who gave large amounts. In the sermon, Rev. Peter contrasts the giving of the poor widow with the giving of Mary, who anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume, and the rich, who gave out of their wealth. He further highlights the following points:
– God is interested in our giving and our failure to give, and He sees our motives and attitudes.
– Giving is a form of worship and a demonstration of faith, trust, and generosity.
– Giving should be deliberate, planned, and sacrificial, not just what we can spare or what we don’t miss.
– God praises our giving even if we don’t know it, and He takes care of our needs when we seek His kingdom first.
In the book of Mark Chapter 12 verse 41, the Bible says, Jesus sat opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowds 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, which are only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples, 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, putting everything she had to live on. This is a familiar passage of the scriptures. And Luke also records the same in Luke chapter 21 from verses one to four. Again, the story is in exactly 4 verses. Jesus is inside the temple and the Bible says he went over, He sat opposite. I’m imagining that treasuries or the boxes. I think another translation that talks about collection boxes will be similar to this. He sat where He could watch as people dropped in their offerings. And as we have read, people brought in, the rich put in large amounts.
Then the focus changes to a poor widow, who dropped in two pennies or two small copper coins, and Jesus saw. The Bible says he called his disciples to him and said, I tell you this poor widow has put in more than anyone else. In John Chapter 12 from verses 1 to 8, we read another story of another woman. Now this one is named Mary. And this was just before the Passover. And we read a story about Mary. Is described as an extravagant giver, because of how and what she gave. Mary, the extravagant giver. And reading her story, I believe that. Mary wanted to pronounce her master’s worth when she gave the kind of offering that she did. In John chapter 8, the Bible says that Mary took about a pint of pure onard an expensive perfume. She brought it out on Jesus’s feet and wiped his feet with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. Now, when you read down there, that perfume was not cheap. The perfume was very, very expensive. And I think the accountants were able to give the value. It was worth a year’s wage. She poured it upon Jesus’ feet. In verse 5. Judas, the accountant or the Treasurer who kept, or who was to later betray him was agitated. Why this waste? Why wasn’t perfume sold and money given to the poor? It was one and a year’s wage.
But Jesus spoke, leave her alone, this was intended that she would save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you but you not always have me. Judas is angry and agitated, according to him what Mary has offered is a complete waste. It would have been put to a better use. According to him, if that perfume had been sold and the money given out Because as he says, he has already done the calculation, it is worth a year’s wage. But Mary the extravagant giver, Mary wanted to pronounce her master’s worth, and therefore she has come to offer what she had the best way she knew how, and this became a memorial. Her legacy lives on over 2000 years later, we still read her story, Mary gave extravagantly. The woman in the text that we read is not named the Bible says just a woman. She is simply referred to as a poor widow. And as I said, her account is given by two of the Gospel writers, Mark and Luke, and each of them mentions her in 4 verses. Jesus was watching, the scene is in the temple and Jesus is present. And I imagine a cold Sabbath where the worshippers are lining up to give their offering. The temple doors are open, the sun is yet to rise fully. It’s early in the morning, people are hurrying up the dusty road. They don’t want to be late for worship. There is smoke in the air because already the offerings are being presented at the altar and the burnt offerings are already taking place. The people, both the poor and the rich, are lining up to offer their offerings to God. And Jesus happens to be in the temple already with his disciples and the Bible says that He sat where He could see, He had a view of what was going on. The line led to a small room with collection boxes. As you can imagine, as they dropped in the coins, the coins would make noise because these are metal metallic boxes. So when you throw in metallic coins they would make noise but simply means you know the weight of someone’s giving simply by listening to the sound of the coins.
And there’s something I want us to understand here when it comes to offering. The concept that we received from the scripture is simple. The offering has to be deliberate and planned for. An offering should not just happen because you happen to see that everyone else is offering. An offering in the Old Testament context was something thought out before. In other words, before you leave home, you already know what you would offer. They brought their offerings in terms of animals therefore an animal had to be chosen and the specifications were clear, the kind of animals that were supposed to be given. An animal without blemish, which means you have to get into the hand, check out your sheep or the goats. It was deliberate. And that has not changed. An offering has to be deliberate and thought about. Please don’t just go get in the pocket and throw in whatever comes out. There are times I’ve been told that the people who count the offering find supermarket receipts. Someone just threw in whatever was in the pocket.That’s an insult to God. Because it simply means you never thought about it. So it’s just whatever comes out. Offerings were deliberate, planned for in advance and it should be. I’m contrasting two women, Mary and an unnamed widow. Mary had also planned to give, that’s why she carried the perfume. The poor widow had carried her two small copper coins. Jesus sat opposite and He watched as the people gave. He watched how they were putting their money. And I believe how many other people that were there, the priests were there. But Jesus took note of something that no one else had taken notice of.
The poor lady entered quietly put in her offering and left. The priests and the Levites never noticed, after all, she was a poor widow and maybe they knew her. And I would imagine her offering never made much noise. When she reached out into her tiny sachet and drew out two insignificant coins. As each one turns them into the metal boxes, no one takes notice except one and the one that did is the one who matters. The only person who took notice, the only person who saw her act was one. The one who sees all, Jesus was impressed. No wonder he calls his disciples and tells them something they have not seen. He says this poor widow has given more. And I’m imagining that statement may have drawn mixed or quick looks. Maybe the priests, because they knew who the rich were, may have looked at each other and shook their heads. They knew who the rich were. Jesus qualified his statement, He said, she gave all she had. He is so impressed by this poor widow. This seemingly uneventful giving has become a permanent record that we read about over 2000 years later. Her legacy is known. The unknown woman, her legacy we read about today. And I want us to look at a couple of things. Looking at this particular passage, several things stand out. First of all, about God, secondly about the people, and third about this woman. Why would Jesus be watching? Why would Jesus be looking at the giving? Is simply because God is interested in our giving. And when I talk about giving, I’m not just talking about money. Many times when giving is mentioned people say now the person is talking about money, yeah, part of it, yes, but giving is more than just money. There are many other things besides money.
God is very interested in our giving, in how we give, in what we give. Because he’s given so much, He’s given us time, He’s given us talents, he’s given us money. And is interested in knowing what we do with it. He has entrusted what we have, He has made us to be stewards, so he is interested. After all, He is the owner. The Bible says the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness. If the earth is the Lord’s, and you live in the earth, it simply means you are part of what he owns, so he owns whatever He has given to you. He has entrusted it to you as a steward. We are owners in the sense of stewards. So he is interested in what we do with what he has given to us. He’s given us 24 hours a day, what do you do with the 24 hours? He’s given us talents and gifts. What do you do with that? What do you do with the resources he’s given to us? God is interested in our giving from what he’s given to us. In terms of time, how much time, for example, do you give back to God? How much time in a day, would you say I honestly give God.
The question that comes to mind is ok, God has given me time. Who do I give of that time? How much time can I give back to Him? In terms of, first of all, seeking him, worshipping him, communing with him, serving him. And we serve him by serving others. How much time? Of the talents and the gifts, how much that we give back. So he is interested in our giving. Because when it is done right. Every form of giving becomes worship. It shows the extent of our generosity or our selfishness. Is either our generosity or our selfishness. So Jesus was interested because he is God. If you want to give a Title to what I’m sharing, is a simple phrase. ‘What would be said of your giving’. Is it extravagant? Is it worth mentioning? Like the poor lady will the Lord put it as a legacy, What will the Lord say? Jesus said something concerning the poor widow’s giving, he said something about Mary’s giving. And I’m sure he has something to say concerning our own giving. So God number one is interested in our giving.
Number two, he is also interested in our failure to give what causes us not to give. He is also interested in our failure to give. So he’s not only interested in our giving, he’s also interested in our failure to give because he observes the heart. He is the one who has supplied in the first place. So what does this person that I have entrusted with, what is he doing with what I have given to him? And why isn’t he doing what he’s supposed to be doing? He is interested in our failure to give. The law of harvest sowing and reaping is seen in our giving and in our failure to give. Today’s text is normally mentioned or referenced when you’re talking about money, but as I said, this goes beyond the giving of money. It encompasses every other form of giving, whether it is our time, whether it is our talent, whether it is the gifts that are given to us. There is something connected with our giving and our failure to give because God is interested. He is an interested party. The Bible says for God so loved the world that he gave. God is a giver and we are created in the image of God, so if God is a giver by extension, we are meant to be givers.
So God is interested in our giving and our failure to give. God is more interested in the attitude and the motives than in the gift itself. And one of the things that people must always understand is that you can’t really give God anything because He owns it in the first place. And we’re giving. Is in a sense of returning a portion of what is given to the owner. So the attitude that we have, do we feel obliged, do we feel the sense of wanting to give back to the person who’s given to us. Those of us who are parents, you look at your child, especially when they’re small. You give them a sweet and some of them, if you ask them to give some, don’t want to give back, but there are some that will give back. And as a parent, you will wonder, I’ve given this child a sweet, he or she can’t give it back to me. You have a problem because you realize if a child can’t give back, an aspect of selfishness is already developing in that child. So are we too selfish to give back to God? The copper coins were the smallest Jewish coins. Why are they so little, actually insignificant in today’s currency, They were the smallest coins in circulation, what she gave. But Jesus praised her nonetheless, for what she offered and said she has given more why because He saw in her gift something that was not in the other gifts. He saw the real sacrifice and selflessness because she gave everything she had to live on.
The message translation brings it out very interesting. It says ‘The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they never missed, she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford, she gave her all. We are talking about real sacrifice. So as far as Jesus was concerned she gave extravagantly, she gave her all. So the question is what kind of an attitude do we have when it comes to the giving of ourselves, of our offerings, of our time, or whatever it is that we give? God is not so much interested in what we give, as He is in what we keep back for ourselves. I repeat that God is not interested so much in the amounts we give, but in what we keep back because he sees this lady kept nothing back. So God is interested in our sacrifice to Him. We’re talking about real sacrifice. It is costly, a sacrifice has to cost. In the Old Testament, I think was David who made the famous statement, that I will not give to God a sacrifice that does not cost me because that will not be a sacrifice. Some people know nothing about real sacrifice in terms of giving. And by the way, you know, sometimes I like speaking directly because it’s good to be real. Think about your offering, even today, whatever you’re going to give. Think about your offering, Is that offering worth it? Would it be an offering or a gift worth to the giver?
Someone said we give to God in a year so little in comparison with what we spend in self-indulgence and bad habits. Today we have a phrase people say ” Treat yourself when you want to treat yourself, my brother. And you go to Java, you want to treat yourself. You want to take that coffee or whatever it is. By the time you are leaving there, you are less.Tell me, coffee and a snack at Java is 1K or more right? But to some people, treating themselves is good but an offering of 1K is too big.I’m talking about real reality. That we give to God so little in comparison with what we spend on self-indulgence. Think about the amount you’d spend when you’re taking your friend out for lunch or dinner and how much you give in terms of your offering. Giving is not only the thing that we can sacrifice, we can sacrifice in many other things. Jesus commended the poor widow because she gave and pointed to sacrifice. God does not expect all of us to give the same amount because he knows we are gifted and endowed differently.
And I think the reason why for example, the percentage the tithe is given, it’s something called equity. The 10% of 10,000, for example, we’re talking about equity. God does not expect you to give the same amount it is true. The woman in our text did not give us as much as the rich who gave much. But in the eyes of God, he’s looking at the heart. And lastly, God praises her offering and she never got to know about it. In verse 43, he praised her behind, but she never got to know about it. Her legacy, she never got to know that it is already there. She went away, never knowing that the master had seen and commented about it and made sure it would be put down in scripture for us to see. I think God praises most people after they are gone.Remember what Jesus said about John the Baptist? In Matthew 11. You know this guy, he’s in trouble, he’s in prison. And the pressure is such that he’s even started to doubt himself. At some point, he sends his disciples to the master because he wants to be sure whether He is really the one. And what did Jesus say of all men born of women, none is greater than John the Baptist. John the Baptist never got to hear that, he was actually in prison. Unfortunately, many of us would prefer to be commended upfront, of course, when it’s done upfront, you’ve gotten your reward already. Some people get offended when they are not affirmed. Some people are known to leave church simply because the pastor failed to recognize them, may God help us. God doesn’t do it as we’d expect.
Quickly, a few things about the people that were in church, like we are this morning. The Bible describes some who were rich and gave very generously. They gave much and Jesus never rebuked them, he never put them down. He actually praised the offering but praised her offering more. They gave as they were generous and gave much. Secondly, they were not too busy to attend the temple. The rich were not too busy to attend the service. They did not use their busy schedules as an excuse to stay away from church. You know, there are people who say, Pastor, I had such a busy week, was so drained, I just had to sleep in on Sunday morning. Some people need a weekend away, to recuperate because they’ve had a very busy week and may not even attend church. But we are reading here, that these people are not too busy to attend the worship. They are not too lazy that they feel they need to stay at home and maybe send their offering. In spite of their busy lives, they were at the right place at the right time for the right purpose, it was time for worship.
And lastly, they were givers not just getters. In our modern society, we have the thrill of getting and receiving. Why do you think there’s so much in gambling and betting? It’s the thrill of receiving the call, are you so and so, you are the winner of. We hear them all on the television. The thrill of receiving and Unfortunately, we are teaching our children the thrill of receiving rather than the joy of giving. Everything is about getting and receiving getting of gifts. Now every occasion has become an occasion to give.Birthdays are no longer the celebrations we had, someone feels funny if you attend a birthday party without a gift. because. It was meant to celebrate someone’s birthday but now turned around into a collection. And someone says you never send me a gift for my birthday and they get so angry. Everything is turning around in our times, everything is becoming commercialized, may God help us.
And especially to our children, we need to be careful because if we are not careful, even as they grow with the thrill of receiving they will never experience even as they mature the joy of giving. They have always been receiving. So the idea of getting and getting and winning lies behind the stealing the gambling, the betting, and no other commercial advertising that we see. And finally, narrowing down on this woman again. A few things about the woman. This woman, number one, is more interested in God than in herself. The focus is not on herself, remember, she is poor. This is a very rare trait, she’s not even thinking about herself. She knew as it were in those days, that what was put in the treasury, part of it would go back to the poor. So if anything she was meant to be more of a recipient than a giver, but that did not stop her from giving. You know, there’s the excuse that sometimes some people give, I need it more.So she’s more interested in God than in herself. She is more focused on God than on herself. She is not so obsessed with her situation.
Number two, completely unselfish. She had two coins, she could have chosen to give one, but she gave all. And the point here is, that this was a demonstration of faith in God that she trusted, that the God she believed in is more than able to take care of her. She gave her all, and in so doing, this particular deed has innate the spirit of the cross. Remember Jesus, who gave his all also. Jesus gave his life and in a way, this woman gave all that she had to live. The spirit of the cross. And maybe to her, that was the only way she could serve God. She’s described as a widow, maybe she had no relatives. Maybe she had no other things. Her giving was her only way of worship. There are many opportunities that people give or have to worship God. And as I said, this is not confined to money. There are many other ways we can give. We can give our time, we can give our service, and there are many other things we can do besides money. In conclusion, in this one act, the poor widow showed herself to be more of a disciple of the Lord. than many other people, we read about in history. And God took note of what she did, and God similarly takes note of what we do.I don’t believe that she starved after that because God takes care of his own.
Why do I say so? You know, sometimes you wish you knew the rest of the story. But you can take comfort in God’s word. David said, I’ve been young and now I’m old, I’ve never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging for bread crums. In Psalms, 37 verse 25. David was referring to the faithfulness of God. He’s never seen the righteous forsaken because God never forsakes. Mattew 6 verse 33 says, Seek first his Kingdom, His righteousness and all the other things will be given us. Well, God is able to take care of his own. The truth that we need always to remember friends today, is that everything we have and everything we are, belongs to God. He allows us to be stewards over these things. Let’s not be upset when we are placed in desperate situations because God knows God sees. He sees our weaknesses, our weaknesses are his opportunities. So what would the lord say concerning our giving either of money or of our time? What would the Lord say concerning my offering?