Digging in Deeper: Mark 12:43-44

“Summoning his disciples, he said to them ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. For they all gave out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had – all she had to live on.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever received a gift that was truly a generous one? There’s just something about that experience that feels good. You feel honored. You may be a little ashamed or embarrassed by the generosity, but your gratitude is enormous. You immediately rate the character of the giver as high. On the other hand, have you ever received a gift you knew was not in the least bit generous? The feelings then are almost the exact opposite. You may take whatever it is, but you’re really not very grateful for it at all. The other person just did it because he had to or somehow felt obligated to do it. That’s not a gift you’re ever going to be very happy receiving. Well, as much as you feel that way, God does even more. This odd little closing episode from Mark 12 gives us a really powerful picture of this truth. Let’s take a look.

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Morning Musing: Mark 10:13-15

“People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

The lot of children used to be difficult one. They were generally seen as a drain on a family’s resources until they were old enough and strong enough to contribute meaningfully to the household. Vaudeville-era comedian, W.C. Fields was famous for his rather sardonic quotes about children. For instance, “There’s no such thing as a tough child – if you parboil them first for seven hours, they always come out tender.” Today, the place of children in some circles is so high we can scarcely imagine a world where it wasn’t. In fact, in many segments of our culture, we’ve swung the pendulum so far in the other direction that we are sometimes guilty of creating equal, but opposite, problems for them as we work out our own issues through them. That being said, there’s something wonderful about the wonder a child brings to this world. Jesus agreed. Let’s talk about it.

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A Little Something Different

So, even as I sit down to write this, I know that it’s going to seem like fishing. Rest assured, it’s not. I usually try not to bring any more attention to this than I can help it. But this is a day for reflecting so here goes nothing. Today I grow another year older. Rather than our usual meditation on Mark’s Gospel, I thought I’d do something just a bit different and reflect with you on a few lessons I’ve learned over the years. Lord willing I’ve still got many yet to go, but here are a few things I’ve learned so far.

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Morning Musing: Malachi 3:10

“‘Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in my house. Test me in this way,’ says the Lord of Armies. ‘See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the things we see people being instructed not to do several times in various places in the Scriptures is to test God. We are not to hinge our devotion or obedience to Him on his doing something we want Him to do. He is not at our beck and call. He is God and we are not. In light of this, seeing Him actually command the people to test Him on something here should cause us to sit up and take notice. Well, sit up, and let’s take notice.

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Morning Musing: Habakkuk 2:20

“But the Lord is in his holy temple; let the whole earth be silent in his presence.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

There are some people who, when they speak, everyone around them listens. You’ve perhaps been around people like this before. There was just something about them. Not everyone has this. It’s generally a reputation that is earned over time. Not everyone recognizes it immediately. But when they do, they fall in line. What Habakkuk wants us to recognize here is that God is one of these people.

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