Offerings

There was a specially constructed prop in this religious farce.
In the outer court of the Temple 13 metal horns had been installed for the giving of offerings for the relief of the poor. This from a commentary:

“…a court of the temple where 13 chests were placed to receive the offerings of the people toward its maintenance (2 Kings 12:9; John 8:20.) These chests were called trumpets, from the trumpet-like shape of the tubes into which the money was dropped, wide at the one end and narrow at the other. Mark (Mark 12:41) says, “He beheld how the multitude cast money into the treasury” (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)

These “trumpets” were actually funnels designed for coins to make loud noises while finding their way to the bottom. To increase this sound effect, the rich “givers” changed their offerings into many small nearly worthless brass coins thus making a grand show of their giving. Remember, these are the same men who “devoured widow’s houses.”

Jesus took a seat.
The Lord took a seat to watch the show. He observed each finely dressed leader make his entrance, remove his impressive bag of coins, wave it high for all to see, and empty it into the receptacle. The noise of this offering was so impressive the man’s followers applauded such generosity.

As everyone knows, men will inevitably compete with each other so each subsequent “giver” had to give more brass coins to make more noise to get more applause than the man before him. I wonder if Jesus thought something like this, “Do these men think God is a fool?”

The Widow’s Mite
An unnoticed woman, poorly dressed but clean in body and soul, approached the offering receptacles. She had as much right to be there as any of the rich hypocrites. She even had the right to take from the offering since she was certainly among the poor. Time and time again she approached the horn only to be shoved away by a more important “giver.” She was used to this so with each rejection she backed up and waited her turn.

Jesus was watching this study in contrasts:

  • The finery of the rich and the rags of the poor,
  • The pride of the religious and the grateful heart of the widow,
  • The “importance: of the crowd of the leaders and the “insignificance” of the woman,
  • The pretense of the powerful and the piety of the powerless.

Jesus was watching, watching it all.

A Small Noise
Finally, when no one was watching her, the widow managed to toss her one brass coin into the metal trumpet. The sound was so small that no earthly ears picked it up but in the courts of the heavenly Temple, the sound of her offering was that of a whole trumpet section, high and bright, echoing antiphonally through the marble halls of Heaven.

Were it not for Jesus, no one would have noticed her at all. Jesus would have none of that!
He stopped her in her tracks.

“Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

The woman blushed like a bride. Jesus smiled at her embarrassment. She never sought attention. She only wanted to return an offering to God for His faithfulness to her. In the heavenly books, when the sound of her offering finally reverberated to silence, angels credited her account as more valuable than any given that day.

Scriptures:
Luke:21:1–4 NKJV
And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”
Psalm 29 NKJV
Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones, Give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. The voice of the Lord is over the waters; The God of glory thunders; The Lord is over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; The voice of the Lord is full of majesty. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars, Yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon. He makes them also skip like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; The Lord shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth, And strips the forests bare; And in His temple everyone says, “Glory!” The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood, And the Lord sits as King forever. The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I will fill my heart with thanksgiving today. I know that thanksgiving is the gateway to Your presence. Accept my offering of praise to be Your holy throne, Your holy dwelling place. Save me from pride and pretense. Deliver me from performance praying or theatrical giving of alms. I will keep my right hand in blessed ignorance of what my left hand gives. I seek not the applause of people. I only seek to minister to You, giving You the glory due Your name. All for You, Jesus, all for You! Amen.

Song:
I Give You My Heart

Words and Music: Reuben Morgan

This is my desire To honor You
Lord, with all my heart I worship You
All I have within me I give You praise
All that I adore  Is in You

Lord, I give You my heart
I give You my soul
I live for you alone
And every breath that I take
Every moment I’m awake
Lord, have Your ways in me

This is my desire To honor You
Lord, with all my heart I worship You
All I have within me I give You praise
All that I adore  Is in You

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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