“38 He also said in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who want to go around in long robes, and who want greetings in the marketplaces, 39 the front seats in the synagogues, and the places of honor at banquets. 40 They devour widows houses and say long prayers just for show. These will receive harsher punishment.”
41 Sitting across from the temple treasury, He watched how the crowd dropped money into the treasury. Many rich people were putting in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and dropped in two tiny coins worth very little. 43 Summoning His disciples, “He said to them, I assure you: This poor widow has put in more than all those giving to the temple treasury. 44 For they all gave out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she possessed — all she had to live on.”
Here we find two hearts in stark contrast with one another. We find the audacious, bold, arrogant heart of the religious leaders standing in opposition to the quiet, faithful, Humble heart of the widow. The religious leaders, proud of their accomplishments, proud of their position, proud of their wealth, proud of their intellect stand apart from God. They worshipped only themselves, and as Jesus says, their reward comes from men and their praise.
But this quiet widow, giving all she had, trusting in God, she is the one with the heart that honors God. Nothing those religious leaders could do could begin to imitate what she brought to God. The religious leaders trusted only in themselves, they had no concept of grace or of God’s care. Sure, they would have considered themselves blessed, but they would also take the credit for the blessing. God showed them favor because of their genetic forebears and because of their own righteous acts. They earned it.
The widow comes knowing that YHWH is her provider, knowing that there is nothing in her that buys her love from Him. Instead, she comes wholly trusting and wholly thankful. Out of her poverty, she gave it all. And if you’ve ever seen the Israeli ‘mite’ you know that it is an incredibly small coin. For that to be all you have in the world is to be dependent on God.
Mark 10 – “23 Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 24 But the disciples were astonished at His words. Again Jesus said to them, Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
We would all be better to be more dependent on God, trusting in Him, rather than trusting in money, intellect, position or anything else. To GoLove in His Name means to GoLove dependent on Him. Rich and poor, learned and meek, we must come to others humbly through our understanding of Him. We cannot go out proud of self, but instead boasting in Christ.
“34 Summoning the crowd along with His disciples, He said to them, “If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel will save it. 36 For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his life? 37 What can a man give in exchange for his life?”
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
“26 Brothers, consider your calling: Not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. 27 Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. 28 God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world — what is viewed as nothing — to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, 29 so that no one can boast in His presence. 30 But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became God- given wisdom for us — our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, 31 in order that, as it is written: The one who boasts must boast in the Lord.”
“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 ESV
In his letter to the church, James reminds teachers that we are going to be held doubly accountable for what we say and teach (James 3:1) and that is something that I know I take very seriously. I also stand with Paul knowing that my words are not anything special in and of themselves, and that if anything powerful or good or special or motivating or righteous comes out of my mouth, then it must be God at work, and not me.
There has to be a large degree of humility that comes from handing your life over to Christ. We must admit that we have a problem that we cannot overcome by ourselves, that we are powerless to beat it and that we must have God’s help to even make the slightest motion forward. We admit our weakness, our faults, our failure, and we must be humble enough to admit that anything worth bragging about must have come from Him, and so we don’t even get credit for that…
Instead, we look at what God has done. We examine our redemption and our Redeemer. We study our salvation and our Savior. We learn from our Lord & Master and we humbly follow along in our calling by the One who has saved us by virtue of His own righteousness. We did not contribute to the effort. It was all his doing.
“But I had to…”
“And when I gave…”
We admitted we were powerless without Him and destined for Hell. That is what we had earned for ourselves; damnation (to use an old churchy term.)
Our best efforts had us separated from God for eternity and our most wonderful intentions left us morally bankrupt. Scripture says that ‘there are none who are righteous, no not one.’ (Romans 3:10) and that ‘all have fallen short of God’s glory’ (Romans 3:23) in and because of our sin.
We don’t brag in front of God because He did all the work. We simply submitted ourselves to Him. We admitted our faults. Received His grace and were baptized into His love. Our redemption is all about Him, not all about us. It’s not about ‘our best life now,’ it’s about His glory for eternity. It’s not about us ‘naming and claiming’ anything. It’s about His justice, mercy and grace. It’s not about health and wealth in this life, as if our God is so shallow and that the best example of His love and blessing would be shown through such petty, worldly ways.
God’s love, grace and mercy is best shown when His children live as His church, dead to self and living to serve others in His Name for His glory in the ways that He has gifted us to do so, and again so that He would be glroified.
Dead to self.
Alive in Christ.
He must become greater, we must diminish.
It’s not about ego. It’s about proper respect and the acknowledgement that God’s glory over us, in us and through us is the highest calling we can recognize or ever be given. It’s not just for ministers, priests and guys who wear robes on Sunday mornings in front of groups of people. It’s about taking the love that was first shown to us and glorifying the One who loved as we GoLove others in His Name, for His sake. We share Jesus, who was given for us. Be bold. Speak out. Say _something_. Consider your calling and live it out humbly in love and under grace.