July 2, 2021
Happy Holiday weekend! Hope you have a wonderful one. We will be going to the cabin tomorrow along with lots of relatives, some of whom are already up at the lake. Looking forward to that time together. This morning I made bars, wrote letters, cleaned our apt. and did some packing.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
As we read scripture we are often challenged to change, to strip off some old attitude and behavior, and to become more like Christ. Jesus had a way of calling our attention to honest faith in ordinary people and showing us the contrast of our own hypocrisy like that of the Pharisees. We remember the woman who touched the hem of his robe in faith that she would be healed. Or the “sinful woman” who poured perfume over Jesus’ feet in love etc. Jesus had just told his disciples about the dangers of the Pharisees whose faith focused on the rules and outward behavior. He and His disciples then sat by the temple treasure and observed as a poor woman put in her offering of the two smallest coins. (The treasury was the place where donations were made for the upkeep of the temple) I wonder if the disciples thought, why this woman even bothered with such a small amount. Pastor Kyle Norman writes how Jesus’ comment must have surprised his disciples when He said in Luke 21:3-4 (ESV), “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” The widow didn’t call attention to herself but silently put in her offering with a heart longing for God. The Pharisees on the other hand, wanted to put on a big display so others would think well of him.
Kyle mentions how big displays, even in times of worship today can mask our self-righteousness. We want to pray a perfect prayer, or praise from others more than from the Lord. Jesus wasn’t saying we all need to give away everything we own but wants us to notice that the widow was in essence, casting herself on the grace of God. It was not the amount of the gift but her heart focus. We can give thousands of dollars to the Lord but if it is disconnected from our faith, it does little good. Whether we give our time, money or talents it should represent the giving of ourselves and is a personal investment. The Lord looks at our heart. After seeing her offering, the disciples remark about the magnificent stones of the temple. The widow’s offering would be used for its ongoing glory but Kyle cautions us about having grandiose worship sites when they come at the expense of helping the poor. It’s not about focusing on the beauty of the church but also on providing for those outside.
Hopefully this portion of scripture will cause us some self-reflection as we ask ourselves if we are more concerned about our own glory than His. Or do we think we are blessed in proportion to our worldly greatness? May we become more aware of our spirit in giving than in the dollar amount!
Challenge for today: Give to the Lord from a humble heart of faith and love.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy