“Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on” (Luke 21:3-4).
In contrast to the gifts of the rich, the poor widow gave two of the smallest coinage in Roman currency. Yet, in the strange world of Kingdom math, she gave more than everyone else. For all the things that wow and impress us about the affluence human wealth, God measures things differently. He looks not at the amount, but the attitude. He sees not what is given, but what is left. And while the rich will give from their wealth, they will never give their wealth. By God’s standard, the widow’s mite made her the richest person in the room.
“And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury…” (Mark 12:41).
One area you may not like Jesus is when it comes to giving. By our giving, he makes judgments about our lives, priorities, and whether or not we are arranging our lives to honor him. It’s a haunting reality that the true love of our life, and the object of our affection, is proved out not by the confession of our lips but the ledger of our checkbook and the receipts from our credit cards.
“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2).
There is certain mindset that drives us each day; that compels us in the pursuit of the life we desire. The higher we set the bar and the loftier our ambitions, the more we are able achieve. For the people of God, the standard before us reaches into a kingdom not of this world. It requires a fixed perspective on life that’s undistracted by the material offerings and empty promises of this present life.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34).
Human nature is to love those who are like us; those with whom we agree and share common opinions. The real challenge is to love the unloved; those who are difficult. Though unnatural, disciples of Jesus draw upon the supernatural resource of God’s Spirit to make it a reality.
“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31).
Being a disciple is much like a marriage. Each begins with an initial commitment and is characterized by a continuing faithfulness and growth in intimacy. The faithfulness of Jesus’ disciples is seen in their continuing in His word. That is, the purpose of continued Bible study is to become so familiar with the teachings of Jesus that we become more like Him. Every reading brings richer understanding.
“Apply your heart to discipline and your ears to words of knowledge” (Proverbs 23:12).
Just as an applied science is a discipline used to apply existing scientific knowledge to develop more practical applications, applied faith is the discipline of applying biblical knowledge to the practice of living life. If we do not discipline ourselves to apply what we know and profess to be true, then all we have accomplished is the gathering of information. Applied knowledge produces a robust faith.
“So your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine” (Proverbs 3:10).
No, this isn’t a proof-text for some popular, westernized, capitalistic, health-wealth-prosperity-gospel. However, it is a promise of God that far exceeds the material and temporal offerings of this world. The question is, “Do you really want more?” Why is that even among those who never speak of God’s blessings, when they experience a financial windfall, say, “What a blessing from God!” To want more is to desire his peace, the assurance of eternal life, the forgiveness of sin, deliverance from guilt, the blessing of participating in his Kingdom’s work. Desire and pursue the eternal, and you will discover a life that is filled and overflowing.