It’s a sobering thought to realize that Jesus is with us always no matter where we are or what we are doing. In many ways, living with this awareness would be comforting and encouraging; to know that no matter what difficulty we are facing we are not alone.
But in some areas of life the reality that Jesus is there watching gives us less than a warm, fuzzy feeling. In fact, it would be absolutely terrifying! One of those aspects of life might be having Jesus watch what we put in the offering plate on Sunday morning.
“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.” ~ Mark 12:41-42
Notice that it doesn’t say “Jesus happened to walk by…” or “Jesus glanced over…” No, Jesus intentionally sat down and watched as people filed by and dropped in their offerings.
Why would Jesus do this? Because money is a litmus test of our true character. It is an index of our spiritual life. Our stewardship of money tells a story of how we relate to God. It’s a barometer of our faith in His ability to provide for us. Jesus was so interested in who was giving what that He used it as an object lesson.
“Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.'” ~ Mark 12:43-44
The widow who gave less… gave more! To give from our surplus takes little faith, but to give sacrificially demonstrates our trust in God. Imagine Jesus gathering some folks together to observe what you and I put into the offering plate in order to teach an object lesson.
Would it be a lesson of surplus or of sacrifice?