Passage: Mark 12:13-17 and 41-44
In these passages we see Jesus challenging us about our giving,
both to the government and to God. Money and giving are difficult topics
for us to think about; there are so many demands and pressures on us in this area.
What do you think is Jesus’ teaching point in pointing to the widow?
During this week take some time to total up the money you give to God and consider it in light of these passages.
What does this tell you about your attitude to worship?
Engage and Extend
As we continue to look at the week leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, we see more attack. This time the Pharisees and the Herodians, this allows us to see their hearts.
- They ganged up on Jesus
They hated each other but ganged together against Jesus.
As we look at the attacks on Christians and biblical teaching can you see how others are ganging up to attack Christians?
- Set traps
Their focus was on seeking to trip Jesus up in his words, and this particular episode was very cunning.
Can you think of ways this is happening to Christians?
- Using flattery
They used false compliments and built Jesus up to purposely try and knock him down
Can you think of how society may seek to do this with Christians?
Sadly we can find ourselves tempted to do these same things to justify ourselves, our own sinful behaviour and unwillingness to full obey Jesus?
- Gang up with others Christians who think the same as us and use it to justify our own view on things.
- Try to set traps for biblical teaching trying to overcomplicate or twist teachings to suit ourselves.
- Flatter ourselves about good things we have done in the past and live of them. Or do we revel in the vain flattery of others and continue in our sin.
We need to know that Jesus knows the hypocrisy and as in this passage challenges it, so that we have no where to turn.
In response to all this we need to:
- Spot the Hypocrisy
- Ensure we are living good lives – as Jesus challenged them to pay their taxes and give to God what is God’s.
How are we doing in these areas? Below are some passages to challenge us:
1 Peter 2:13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority,14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.
1 Timothy 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone–2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time.
We finish the last passage thinking about what it looks like to:
“Give to God what is God’s”
In this area our heart is so important.
The others gave out of their wealth but the widow gave out of her poverty.
She gave so much less but in Jesus’ eyes she gave so much more.
The widow gave all she had in doing this she demonstrated her:
- Total surrender to God
How does this challenge you?
CS Lewis is ‘Mere Christianity’ states this about our giving:
“I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc, is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.”
Carefully consider this statement in light of the example of the widow.
“Give to God what is God’s”
- How is our giving?
- Is it sacrificial?
- Are we giving our all?
- Are we holding back?
- Do we treat giving to God like paying our taxes always looking for a way to minimise it?
2 Corinthians 9:6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
We have been blessed to bless, are we?
As you finish, think through this passage, how can it help you to become more like Jesus and introduce others to him?