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. 42And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43And 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. 44For 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.” Mark 12:41-44
How strange it is sitting here with Jesus today. We sit in the synagogue and watch people place their money in the collection plate, so to speak. The collection plate is an offering box here at the front of the synagogue where what you give can be seen by all. It doesn’t really seem all that interesting, sitting here just people watching given how much energy usually surrounds Jesus. It is like a strange lull.
And that’s when it happens. The energy changes. I can sense it, but I don’t know why. At least not yet. But Jesus knows that. That’s why he calls us over. So he can help us understand what he already knows.
Jesus sees something that the rest of us don’t. He calls us closer to himself and shares what he sees, what he knows, with us.
In this moment, what he knows has something to do with a poor widow. He points her out to us and I wonder if she feels his eyes on her. If she feels all of the disciples looking at her, watching her as she leaves. Her sense of self, her sense of God, her faith give her a presence, a confidence among this gathering of rich tithers that makes her stand out.
Jesus tells us that she has given out of her poverty, out of her need, but she looks anything but poor to me.
Jesus tells us that she has given everything she had, which means she has nothing left, but she looks anything but needy to me.
Jesus tells us that she has given more than those who gave amounts that are several times more than what she gave, but she looks richer than they do to me.
Once again I am reminded that God doesn’t see people the way we do. The way I do. He doesn’t see me the way the world does. Or the way I see myself.
He doesn’t look at how much money I have or how much money I can give. He doesn’t look at the job I do or how successful I appear to be. He doesn’t look at my standing in the community or what others think about me.
He looks at the heart. He looks at my heart.
He looks at what motivates me. He looks at what influences my actions. He looks at what informs my thoughts and my decisions.
He looks at my heart. He examines my heart. He cares about my heart.
And I cannot help but wonder if when Jesus looks around my heart, does he see himself reflected there? Is there enough room for him in there?
Or do I need to clean some things out? Like in the deepest recesses where I let fear stay and creep around unchecked, or where I let sin and unforgiveness linger a little bit longer than they should before addressing them, or where I let anger lurk like a prowling lion or pride hide until I think I need it or envy fester like an open sore?
Yes. In fact, it is time to clean these things out and put them in the collection box. To give them to Jesus. To place them in his hands so that he has a place in my heart.
So that he has the only place in my heart.
The widow gave all she had out of her poverty. Perhaps it is time for me to give all of me out of my brokenness. Perhaps it is time for me to trust Jesus with my life, like this widow so clearly does. To trust him with my whole life and not just the parts that are easy to relinquish control of.
Can I trust him with my whole life? That is the question he is asking me today.
Can I? Will I? Do I?
He already knows the answer. After all, he can see my heart. He knows my heart. But even so, I will tell him. I will give him my answer. I will give him my life.
Yes, Jesus. I will trust you with my life.
I can. I will. I do. So long as you help me, Lord.
So long as you help me.