for True Riches
Lord, hear our prayer for the salvation of all of us today, for we know it is hard for
us to enter the kingdom of Heaven unless we are willing to lay down everything for you.
Transform our greed into generosity, our self-absorption into concern for others, and our
desire for worldly pleasures into a desire for you. Help us all to discover Your true
riches, so that we may live a life worthy of Christ our Savior. Amen.
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A Penny for Your Thoughts
a sermon based on Mark 12:38-44
by Rev. Randy Quinn
based on the children's poem "Falling Up"
Offering One of Ten,
by Rev. Frank Schaefer
Nothing Left To Give?
by Rev. Frank Schaefer
Picture with me the temple scene: scribes and priests in festive vestments,
wealthy merchants, and prominent members of the community, all the pomp, the splendor, the
rites and rituals. The pleats of their robes were neatly folded and the tassels were in
their proper place. They wanted to look impressive as they paraded through the outer
courtyards into the court of Israel. They routinely checked the ornate bags in which they
carried their temple offerings to make sure that they had the proper coins and that the
amount was sufficient for persons of their rank and standing.
At the same time, and very much in contrast to this scene, we see a little old widow
getting ready for worship. She had been bargaining and scraping all week to have something
for the temple. After all, she couldn't approach the house of God empty- handed. At the
moment, she lived to give her offering to God. She wanted to tell God, "I'm thankful
I still have you."
In spite of the insignificance of her temple tithe--two pennies--, Jesus noticed this
woman and lifts her up as an example: "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in
more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed
out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had"
(Mark 12:43-44). This act does not romanticize poverty. There is nothing sacred about
being hungry, cold, homeless, or powerless. The presence of the poor illustrates the need
for church and its mission. But sometimes people who live near the edge of existence see
things more clearly than those of us who have plenty. They see without impairment what is
The widow praised by Jesus knew she had nothing and no one on whom to rely but God. Her
gift told God, "I have nothing more to offer. Take and use me."
The widow's mite doesn't make sense in the eyes of the consumer culture around us. We
look at the woman and say: "That's very foolish, to give everything and don't expect
anything in return. This attitude will get you into the poor house. Get with the times,
old lady. Don't you know that today's world is about bargains, rebates, and
discounts?" The question that permeates society has become: What do I get in
Consumers have come to wield enormous power in our day and age....
. . .
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