To challenge the assumption about money and power, Jesus says, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury." And what did he mean by that? She had what the rich don't have: nothing. She gave what they could never give: everything. And that tells us something: that Jesus is always messing with our values! Maybe that's why he's such a hard sell in Silicon Valley. But there's something else. Jesus is telling us about this widow: she is not just a victim, but she's a very different kind of hero.
It's a good thing that grace is as pervasive as gravity, because we're going to need it. Sometimes we'll try and fail to be the person or the church God wants us to be. If we keep reaching for the power of the resurrection, there is no end to the life we can live, no limit to the love we can experience, no telling what joy we’ll come to know as we get to know Christ.
Paul says, "You are the body of Christ and individually members of it." [12:27] Imagine that we are all cells in that corporate body. Now, if we go rogue, if we all wander around, doing our own cellular thing without regard to the effects on anyone else, then we are doing exactly what cancer cells do. And if someone doesn't put a stop to it, we'll kill the body.
A lot of folks never come to church because they are afraid of the God-police showing up. THE question isn't "Are you pure and clean?" but "Are you going on to perfection?" That's what John Wesley would say. He didn't fault people for having dirty hands. He showed them the line for the sink. He didn't condemn folk for not having arrived at holiness. He just wanted to make sure that they were on their way.
Whether we have a bit of meal like the widow in Zarephath or two copper coins like the widow in Mark's Gospel or some time on our hands and some hard-won wisdom, we have a gift to give and God has chosen us to give it. See also Mark 12:41-44.
Lisa Jacobs called us all to account in her sermon on September 30. You thought it was so good, you cheered. Well, this is the sequel. I have a pulpit-side chat with you about the church and its finances and its future filled with hope. I promise to be as honest as Lisa was. If you've ever wondered what's really going on and where we're really going, this would be a good sermon to read.