Bible Readings and Devotion for August 7, 2020
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Devotion for August 7 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
The young children’s Sunday School teacher at a church years ago asked her eight students if they would give $1 Million to the missionaries. “Yes!” they all screamed.
“Would you give $1,000 to the missionaries,” asked the teacher.
“Yes!” they all screamed.
The teacher asked a new question, “Would you give $10 to the missionaries?”
“Yes!” they all screamed.
Finally, she asked the group, “Would you give $1 to the missionaries?”
All the group screamed, “Yes!”
All expressed their commitment, except one boy, Johnny. The teacher noticed the boy clutching his pocket, so she asked, “Johnny, why didn’t you say ‘Yes’ this time?”
“Well,” he stammered, “I have a dollar.”
Today’s reading from Mark tells of an impoverished widow who gives all of her wealth as an offering to God. We read in Mark 12:42 and following: “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.”
Here Jesus points out a new way of thinking for many of us. Instead of simply a portion being for God, he shows us that everything is for God first and foremost. The woman gave abundantly of herself, rather than just a portion. All was for God. Ultimately, this giving of money in this section of Mark is really about our relationship with God. Sure, offerings support ministries and such, but the more important and much more deeply significant meaning of offerings is about how we love and serve our gracious God.
As we look at our uses for monetary resources, such as for taxes, offerings, food, charity, utility bills, or whatever, we see that the use of these resources is not about money itself. The resources entrusted to us by God, such as money, are a means to an end. We get to use these things as a means of expressing our faith and exhibiting our priorities in life. What comes first is our connection to God. Our generous use of God’s provision is a follow up to what God has done for us first in Jesus Christ.
Our use of financial resources can be summed up in the teaching of St. John in his first letter, chapter 4, verse 19, which reads, “We love because he (God) first loved us.” Founded in God’s immense love for us, we are called upon to use and distributed our resources for the love of God, neighbor, and one another. We are given opportunities each day to give generously and to build up life around us, all for the glory of God.
God of abundance, you have poured out a large measure of earthly blessings: our table is richly furnished, our cup overflows, and we live in safety and security. Teach us to set our hearts on you and not these material blessings. Keep us from becoming captivated by prosperity, and grant us in wisdom to use your blessings to your glory and to the service of humankind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen