Anglican Morning Devotion for 14 May 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“ And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. 42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. 43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” (Mark 12:41-44; all scripture quoted is from the king James version)
Numbers can be deceiving, especially those numbers involving mathematical progressions. One progression that is amazing to me goes like this: If you take a single page of onion skin paper (1/1000 inch thickness), cut it in half, join the sides together, cut those in half and join them together, and continue that process fifty times, how thick will it be? First of all, there are not sufficient molecules in the sheet of paper to accomplish the feat fifty times, but if there were, the resulting thickness would be 17,000,000 miles. (work it out)
There is another mathematical progression, somewhat tempered by the issue of a less dramatic increase which involves interest rates. I refer to the widow’s two mites which she deposited into the Temple treasury. Even at the time of her deposit, it was more than all that which the wealthy had cast in, but her offering was greater still for it went into the account books of Heaven, while the others likely went unrecorded beyond the Temple books. I read sometime back of an investment banker who calculated the value of the widow’s two mites if they had been deposited in a bank at 4% interest compounded annually. The result would amount to more than the money in circulation today of all nations of the world combined – and it is still gaining interest in Heaven!
What was the difference in the widow’s mites and the larger wealth cast in by others? Jesus declares the difference Himself: “…. she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” (Mark 12:44) To be honest, none of us owns a single thread that does not truly belong to God. He owns US! He owns all that we have! He owns the days of our lives? What can we give to God that He does not already own? NOTHING! The best illustration that I can think of would be the food, clothes, shelter, and other essentials that we purchase for our children. True, Baby Betty’s little shoes belong to her, but in a larger sense, they still belong to the parents who gave them. Everything baby Betty owns is property shared by the parents. The same is true concerning our wealth and accommodations on loan from God.
God is not focused on the money, or even the amount of service we perform. A poor person may cast ten dollars into the plate while a wealthy parishioner cast in five hundred; but the poor man gave out of need and the wealthy man gave out of abundance. Which do you believe gave the greater gift? Jesus says it was the poor man. A healthy missionary may labor on the mission field under sparse provisions for twenty years while another of ill health only labors for ten hard years and passes to his Maker. Did the first contribute more than the latter? No, he did not.
What is the greatest sacrifice we all can make, whether rich or poor? “16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” God does not want those things that are rightfully His already; but He desires our very hearts, for wherever the heart is, there will be one’s treasure. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21) Those works and sacrifices we make to be seen of men bring only the reward of man’s recognition; but those good works and gifts we make solely to the glory of God are on deposit in Heaven – and the interest on those gifts continue into eternity.
When the Lord Jesus Christ takes possession of the heart, He does not abide in one chamber thereof, but occupies the whole premise of the heart. If Christ abides in our hearts, we are at liberty to do all that is pleasing to us. Why? It is because only the things that are pleasing to Christ will be pleasing to us.
Instead of competing with your neighbor in giving at church, why not give your whole being to Christ. I assure you, He will manage your life far better than you can ever do. Follow the example of the poor widow in giving yourself to Christ!