GIVING IT ALL

“…but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” Mark 12:44b

Do not miss the message of the widow’s mites. She is not commended by Christ because she gave. Others gave too. Nor because she gave much. Others gave much and are not so much as noticed. The distinction that our Lord would have us take special notice of is this: she gave all. Her entire estate had been reduced to two mites, a mite being the coin of lowest value in their currency. These mites could buy nothing of value in the marketplace of this world, but they were all that she had, and she gave all to the Lord. Providence had reduced her outward estate such that her entire livelihood could easily be carried in the palm of her hand. One wonders how she may have pondered over the best use of this the last of her worldly possessions. Her faith shined through in her answer, and she invested it all into God’s hands. Her heavenly Father was her only hope, and she was glad to have it that way. She would have all the glory for sustaining her given to her faithful Redeemer and would not suffer so much as a mite to get the least credit for her deliverance. 

Dear Christian friend. What Jesus calls our attention to here is not an unusual act of extraordinary faith to simply admire and move on. He is showing us nothing less than the way every true disciple of Jesus Christ is called to live. We know this because our text says, “He called His disciples to Himself” (vs. 43) at the observance of her act of love and trust. He raises their attention to the importance of what has just happened with His holy “Assuredly I say to you…” The Holy Spirit ensured these words were written so that you and I could listen in on our Lord’s instruction on this point. “See, see!” Christ seems to say “observe all that I have been telling you in the sermon of this poor widow’s devotion. He that would be My disciple must give all.” She gave it all, “…but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” 

Learn, first, dear friend, that every follower of Jesus Christ must be assured of their spiritual poverty and dependence upon God for all. What is it that you will bring to the treasury of heaven to purchase the price of our forgiveness? Your works? They are nothing. Your righteousness? Filthy rags. Oh, that we knew more the true nature of our own poverty. What fools they are who think they are rich when they are truly poor (Rev. 3:17). It was a wise observation of one of the Puritans that “our father was Adam, our grandfather dust, our great-grandfather nothing.”  We are all poor widows with respect to any righteousness or worthiness of our own. Know your poverty. 

Learn, second, that every follower of Jesus Christ must entirely depend upon the Lord, and nothing else. We are all as widows with respect to the help of men. All must pray with the Psalmist “Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless (Psalm 108:12).” The true believer must seek his refuge only in the Lord of hosts. He must, as Ruth said to Boaz, say to the Lord “Take your maidservant under your wing (Ruth 3:9).” Thus, the true disciple is betrothed to Christ alone, and seeks no confidence in the arm of man. Know to Whom you belong. 

Learn, finally, that every disciple of Christ must give all, or give nothing at all. Hold nothing back my dear brother or sister. Remember what was said of Amasiah, the son of Zichri, “who willingly offered himself to the Lord (2 Chron 17:16).” So must you and I do. Surrender all. He is never a loser who gives all to the Lord. He is never a pauper for whom the Lord alone is his portion. Well said good old George Swinnock on this matter when he wrote “You may stand upon the ruins of the world and sing; I have lost nothing, I have my inheritance, my happiness, and my God still.” The richest person leaving the treasury that day was this poor widow. God was her portion. Is He yours? If so you will gladly count “all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that may gain Christ (Phil 3:8).” 

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