The Widow and Sacrifice
The Bible is full of stories of incredible sacrifice, and the discipline of sacrifice is better learned through observation and practice. The men and women of the Bible serve as our mentors and guides as we learn how to sacrifice.
Read or listen to Mark 12:41–44.
Sitting across from the temple treasury, he watched how the crowd dropped money into the treasury. Many rich people were putting in large sums. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two tiny coins worth very little. Summoning his disciples, he said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. For they all gave out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had —all she had to live on.”
Read the blog below. What is one thing you learned about sacrifice?
The Season of Extravagant Giving
By Melissa Bennett
About mid-October every year, I begin asking my grown children and their spouses what they would like for Christmas. Some are quick with an answer. Others may not give me an idea until I threaten nothing but underwear and socks! All of them are considerate and have never asked for anything outrageously expensive. They understand the cost of things, especially now that they are independent, and don’t want to burden us with extravagant requests. My heart often tugs at this hesitation, because, of course, as a parent I long to give my children not only what they need, but what they want. The holidays are a time of extravagance! Because we celebrate the most extravagant gift ever given—that of the Father sending his Son for our redemption.
Jesus is the ultimate sacrificial gift. How do we give like this? As I ponder this, I’m reminded of a few biblical accounts of those who gave sacrificially back to the Lord: Barnabas who sold his field, donating all the proceeds to the fledgling church (Acts 4:36-37); the Macedonian church who gave “beyond their ability” to the Jerusalem collection (1 Corinthians 8:1-5). But the one that really gets me is the widow in Mark’s gospel who gave her last two pennies (Mark 12:41-44). I ask myself, “When was the last time I gave from my need?” I’m gut punched as I realize that I have never experienced such giving.
There are plenty of people in America who live at or below poverty level, but the vast majority do not. And compared to poverty worldwide, I suspect that we all live like kings and queens. Speaking for myself, I am a pampered princess. Of course wealth, in and of itself, isn’t bad. It is a gift from God to be used for the people of God. He owns everything, right? And our Christ Community family gives bountifully. Our church is debt free. What a beautiful testimony of faith!
All For Jesus
But then I looked again at the story of the widow. It was easy for those who had plenty to give. The widow, however, gave all she had. What trust in God she displays. Such beautiful faith! She fully trusted that God would take care of her. It wasn’t about the money.
I want to trust God like that!
Or do I? I may not be shaken if he asks me to give monetarily, but what else will he require of me? What will he ask me to lay down? Or pick up? Where will he ask me to serve? Or who? How much of “my” time will it require? What will others in my life think? What am I going to “lose?” Wow! It makes writing a check feel painless.
Am I willing to answer God’s call to give extravagantly—anything he asks of me? Now, I’m really uncomfortable. I mean, wouldn’t you be? How many of us are willing to sacrifice anything for him? That’s scary! Then I think of the widow…and the Holy Spirit beckons me forward.
Lord, I’m willing to be willing! Change me!
Will you join me during this season of extravagant giving to ask God to be willing? To be willing to lay all we have before Jesus and ask what he wants from us this Christmas? Let’s give sacrificially to the One who gave his Son for us.
Lord, Jesus, help me trust you. To be willing to give all for you and your kingdom, just as you did for me! Help me to open my heart and my hands. Everything I am, and all that I have was given by your generous hand. My time is yours. May my words be yours. My talents are yours. Use all I am and all I have—anything you want for your kingdom. Amen.
God, please guide me in ways to weave sacrifice into my life.