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Mark 12:38-44

(see text below)

God must have a special love for widows. First, we learn of the widow in Monday’s Old Testament lesson who faithfully fed the prophet Elijah what would have been her last meal. And now, another widow.

In Jesus’ day, widows represented the poor and vulnerable of society. In Jesus’ stories, they also represented the generous. What did they know that engendered such generosity? Perhaps it was their dependence on God’s good gifts for daily life and meaning? Perhaps it was their sensitivity for those without? Or maybe, because of life’s experiences, they were just more grateful for God’s abundance.

What is clear is that, despite their financial situations, these two widows were truly rich. They were rich because they understood that whatever they had was a gift from our generous God, given to be shared with others.

Dear God, instill within me the faith to believe that your generosity is sufficient for this day. Give me the heart of these widows, to share from your abundance with others who have need. Amen.


Mark 12:38-44 (NRSV)
As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, “and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets!
“They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny.
Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.
“For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Tom Jolivette
Philanthropic Adviser, Luther Seminary
Master of Divinity, 1980

Mark 12:38-44 (2)
(see text below)

It’s inspiring to work with donors who make large gifts for very important projects at Luther Seminary. I often wish that I could be one of them. I’d love to give a gift to fund a program, or build a building, or cover the cost of tuition for a student each year (donor envy?). We are very grateful for people who do just that.

It’s great that people choose to do such wonderful things with the resources God has entrusted to them. But do not lose heart! God can also do wonderful things with the resources entrusted to us who appear to have less. The widow understood the joy of giving from the abundance God had given her.

It doesn’t take a million dollars to make us able to give generously. God gives to each of us an abundance that is more than enough. God is generous with us so that we can be generous with others.

Thank you, God, for your generosity to me. Give to me that same spirit of generosity for the sake of others. Amen.

Mark 12:38-44 (NRSV)
38 As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces,
39 “and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets!
40 “They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
41 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.
42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny.
43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.
44 “For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Tom Jolivette
Philanthropic Adviser, Luther Seminary
Master of Divinity, 1980