February 24, 2011
A Kodak Moment
"For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him" (2 Chronicles 16:9).
Friend to Friend
In my last devotion, we took a look at the story of the widow who gave all she had to God (Mark 12:41-44 NIV). This is the last recorded incident in Jesus' public ministry before He makes final preparations for the cross. All the way from Galilee to Jerusalem, He had been teaching the disciples about the high cost of discipleship. "Leave everything behind" (Luke 14:25-33)."He who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 14:11)."Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:27). "In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33). Now, as they arrived at the temple in Jerusalem, Jesus shows them a living example of his spiritual teaching.
This was Passover week and Jerusalem was teeming with Jews participating in the festivities. Jesus had been teaching for the better part of the day, knowing that this would be the last chance he had to speak to the multitudes in the temple. After teaching, he moved to where the offerings were placed to teach his disciples about true giving.
During the time of Jesus, the temple was partitioned off in various segments allowing only certain types of people in each area. Each partition was separated by a set of steps that led up to the next one. Higher and higher the Jewish leaders elevated themselves from the rest of the common folks. The Court of Women held the temple treasury and it is where all worshippers gave their tithes and offerings. Thirteen boxes, shaped like inverted megaphones or trumpets, lined the walls to receive the money. In this particular story, it was Passover week, so there was a steady flow of pilgrims depositing their contributions.
Jesus, the Creator of the universe, the God-made-man, the Great High Priest, didn't go past gate 2, gate 3, gate 4 or gate 5. Rather He stayed in the Women's Court with the common folk - with His people. But there was one woman in particular that He was waiting for. He knew she was coming. He was expecting her.
Picture Jesus, pulling up a chair by a certain offering box. Oh, let's just say it was offering box number five. Of course we don't know which one of the thirteen offering boxes Jesus was watching, but the point is, He knew exactly which one she would be coming to. He was waiting for her…she just didn't know it.
One-by-one, wealthy attendees tossed their coins into the coffers. I can almost hear the clanging now. The more noise the offering made the better. "Look at me! Look at me!" the loud clanging coins announced. "I'm giving a lot today. Why? Because I am important. I am wealthy. I am holy. Don't you wish you could be more like me?"
But then, here she comes. A shabbily dressed, worn, old woman. Head hung low, unproud. She timidly approaches the offering box and gingerly places her treasure among the coins. The others "toss." She "places." Two small copper coins - the smallest coins in circulation in Palestine - about a penny (RSV). Two of these lepton, as they were called, were worth 1/64 of a denarius, a typical day's wage. But these coins were, in reality, worth more than any day's wages. They were all she had…and Jesus knew it.
Do you ever feel like other people don't really care about what is going on in your life? Do you feel insignificant in the grand scheme of things? I am sure this widow must have felt the same. I'm nothing. I have nothing. I am invisible to these men with flowing robes and tasseled garb.
Ever been there? I have. But she wasn't insignificant. Jesus was waiting for her arrival - for her gift. "For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him" (2 Chronicles 16:9).
Jesus was waiting for this widow. He knew she was coming. And He used a seemingly insignificant woman to teach his disciples about significant giving. The widow had 2 copper coins. I wonder what I would have done in the same situation. I think I would have been tempted to just give one to the temple treasury and keep one for myself. One for You. One for me. After all, God wouldn't want me to go hungry, would He?
When my family and I travelled to Yellowstone Park and Jackson Hole Wyoming several years ago, one of our goals was to see as many unusual animals as possible. For us that was anything other than a dog, cat, or bird. During the entire time, we were on the lookout for moose, elk, buffalo and other furry beasts with antlers. After several days, we fell into the rhythm of looking for groupings of cars stopped alongside the road or crowds clustered in the woods. This signaled a sighting! As if holding up a neon sign, the assembly let us know we needed to stop. There was some magnificent creature we needed to see.
Imagine with me for a moment. Jesus calls the disciples over to see the widow and her gift. Thirteen men gather round the offering box as Jesus shines his spotlight on her sacrificial act. Now, what else do you see? I see other people migrating to the scene. "What's so important?" "What's going on?" "What are you men looking at?" Then Jesus lifts his hand and directs their attention to one of God's magnificent creations. She simply nods and walks away. That, my friend, is truly a Kodak moment.
Dear Heavenly Father: Forgive me for clinging to my possessions as if they were really mine in the first place. Help me to give generously and freely every time You prompt me to give. Thank You for taking care of all my needs according to Your riches in glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen
Now It's Your Turn
Can you picture Jesus waiting for the widow to show up at the offering coffer?
How do you think God blessed the widow for her generous gift?
If God had a scrapbook of Kodak moments of your life, what do you think would be included?
More from the Girlfriends
Today's devotion was taken from Sharon's book, What God Really Thinks about Women: Finding Your Significance Through the Women Jesus Encountered. Through the miracles and messages of Jesus, we discover just what God thinks about women. God's personal and perfect touch on your life is only a prayer away when you look to Him to loving exchange your heartache, hopelessness, or pain for the beauty of becoming everything He intended for you to be. You can watch a short video by clicking on the books and audio page of Sharon's website. Check out this book and fall in love with Jesus all over again!
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