The Widow's Gift
Mark 12:41-44
And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.…

How many lessons cluster around this unique incident! The watchful eye which is ever over the treasury of the Lord's temple; the discernment between the gifts that come of "superfluity" large turbans in themselves but small in comparison with the abundance left untouched; and the gifts that betoken the penury of the giver, but at the same time declare the entireness with which all his living is devoted to the service of God; and the great Master's principle of judgment. "Many that were rich cast in much;" one that was "poor" cast in little; yet the one "cast in more than all." Let not our thoughts leave the Lord's treasury, and let that treasury denote to us whatever 'is employed for the right ordering of the Lord's worship in his own holy house; all that is expended in charitable works for the benefit of men, whether in ministering to their spiritual or temporal necessities. The good Lord has himself chosen to represent works of benevolence shown to the suffering and poor to be works done unto himself. All that is thrown into their treasury is thrown into his. "Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me." So it comes to pass that both the Lord and the poor - the Lord in heaven and the suffering and needy on earth - make their appeal to our charity for such help as we may be able to render. In responding to this double appeal let us measure our gifts:

1. By the claims of our Lord upon us.

2. By the necessities of our neighbor.

3. By the measure of our sympathy with him and them.

I. IF THE CLAIMS OF OUR LORD guide us, what limit shall we put upon our "gifts"? To him we owe more than our all. To him we are indebted for life and breath, and all things; for the bright light of the morn and the cooling shades of eventide; for reason and affection and friendship. The good and perfect gifts of righteousness, of holy hope, of calm faith, of heavenly love, come down from him. All that is beauteous and bright in life; all that raises us from degradation and need. Ah! the sands on the sea-shore are as little likely to be numbered as the gifts of the Lord's bounty, which lay us under tribute from sheer thankfulness to him.

II. But our NEIGHBOUR'S NEED presents little less impressive claims upon us. How multiplied! How various! How imperative! Christian charity needs little labor to find out the suitable channels of its activity. How greatly has that charity grown and multiplied since the Lord cast the first handful of seed into the warm heart of man! Many ages have been characterized by large gifts for the comfort, the physical need, the spiritual help of man. This present age is not a whir behind the chief in the largeness and variety of its gifts and efforts. To the Lord be praise!

III. But the true spring of all charity and the true quality of it is to be found in a PERFECT UNITY OF INTEREST WITH MEN, AND A PERFECT SYMPATHY WITH THE LORD. True charity is the outflow of the love of God and love of man. It is one of the highest reaches of wisdom to discern the perfect community of interest which every man has with every other. This the Lord saw: this, alas! is but little seen by us. He who can once become possessed of the belief that he has no true and permanent interest which is not identical with the highest interests of his race, has taken the first step towards the attainment of a pure, a boundless, a Divine charity. And he who would sustain this lofty sentiment must learn to see that all he has he holds by the will and for the good pleasure of the Lord on high. He will learn that concerning himself his utmost wisdom is, with St. Bernard, to say, "Lord, I have but two mites, a body a soul; I give them both to thee." - G.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.

WEB: Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and saw how the multitude cast money into the treasury. Many who were rich cast in much.

The Widow's Gift
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