May 19, 2011

An Extraordinary Gift

Mark 12:41-44

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.”
Mark 12:43


North American tourists are known throughout Europe as good tippers. Often the service charge is already included in the price of a restaurant meal, and yet the unsuspecting tourists add a 15% tip to that amount. No wonder they come across as generous!

Today’s verses tell the story of a widow’s extraordinary gift. As she approached the temple treasury, she put in two very small copper coins. That doesn’t sound like much, does it? And yet Jesus says that her donation was the most generous of all, for she gave “everything—all she had to live on.”

Clearly the widow’s gift wasn’t about “tipping God.” After all, she could have given just a single coin—or even argued to herself that poverty excused her from giving at all. But instead she placed all her money in the temple treasury. Her total giving was a sign of her total commitment to God.

As a former waiter who relied on the generosity of the people I served, I believe it’s better to err by overpaying the restaurant tip than by underpaying it. And as a Christian, I’m convinced that the Lord doesn’t simply ask us to devote a part of our lives to him. He expects our total commitment.

Just a few days after the widow gave her gift, Jesus gave up his life for us—the most generous act in all history. That’s why he rejoiced at the widow’s generosity. That’s why he calls us to be generous and sacrificial.

Father, thank you for your generous gift of salvation in Jesus. Help us to live out our gratitude to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Sergei Sosedkin

Rev. Sergei Sosedkin is the Russian-language ministry leader for ReFrame Ministries. He is a native of Moscow, Russia. As he oversees the Russian-language ministry, Rev. Sosedkin works from our office in Grand Rapids and in various locations in Russia.

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