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SMCC Stewardship Series:. GIVING. IN THE GRACE ZONE. Core Passage. Mark 12:41-44

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SMCC Stewardship Series:



core passage
Core Passage
  • Mark 12:41-44
    • Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."
opening illustrations
Opening Illustrations
  • The first millionaire I ever met.
  • Alfred Nobel
    • Made a fortune selling explosives.
    • Brother died, paper mistakenly posts Alfred’s obituary.
    • Objective summaries of our lives are rare.
    • God sees it all.
setting the stage
Setting the Stage

13 treasuries in the court of women in Herod’s temple.

All Israel came to deposit taxes, tithes, and offerings.

Each treasury was said to correspond to alphabetical name.

These boxes had a cone-like funnel, not unlike old RCA record players.

setting the stage1
Setting the Stage

Large deposits in these boxes no doubt attracted a lot of attention.

Dr. Jeremiah indicated that copious givers were known as “zingers.”

Little doubt that many showboats would convert their offerings to the lowest denominator for maximum theatrical impact.

jesus watchful gaze
Jesus’ Watchful Gaze
  • Jesus is watching one day…
    • Last public act of His ministry.
    • Half of the 38 parables have to do with finances.
    • 50% of the words Jesus spoke in the Bible had to do with the use of our resources.
  • Why is giving so important?
    • It is like a compressed representation of the hours of our days or the fruits of our talents.
jesus watchful gaze1
Jesus’ Watchful Gaze
  • Jesus sat “opposite the treasury” and “beheld.”
    • Jesus deliberately placed himself in close view of one of the treasuries.
    • He sat close enough to visually discern what people were putting in (proven by his identification of the widow’s humble coins.)
  • Likewise, God sits in full view of what we put into the treasury.
jesus watchful gaze2
Jesus’ Watchful Gaze
  • We learn in this passage that Jesus specifically watched three things:
    • The Circumstances from which People Gave
    • The Content of Their Gift
    • Jesus Made the Calculation Concerning the Gift

Jesus observed many rich people at the temple that day, and one poor woman.

The word to describe this woman equates to “pauper.” She was equivalent to a beggar.

God knows our circumstances, our struggles, and the resources at our disposal.


Many people today attempt to hide behind our circumstances.

What kind of circumstantial excuses do we make or frequently hear today?

The widow, out of love, gave all she had despite her circumstances.


Jesus tells us specifically what the widow put into the treasury.

The mite, as we know it, was a Greek lepton. This mite equated to 1/128th of a day’s pay (denarius) and was the smallest denomination of currency.


CA Minimum Wage = $8.00/hr

Standard Workday = 8 Hours

$8 x 8 = $64

1 Mite = 1/128th Day’s Wage = $.50

2 Mites = A Buck


The poor widow put in everything she had, surely realizing the gravity of that action.

Whether two mites or twenty million dollars, these resources are given to us by God and should be viewed as such across the full spectrum.


A young man came to his pastor, telling of how he’s struggling to continue to tithe now that his income tripled.

The pastor prayed with the man: “Lord, please reduce this man’s income back to the level where he could be faithful to you. Amen.”


Jesus makes the startling statement that the widow had put in more than what was given by the rich, turning worldly math on its head.

They gave out of their abundance.

She gave out of her life.


Jesus encouraged the evaluation of her offering based not on what she gave, but what she had.

If we are not willing to give back from that which God has entrusted us, what do you suppose will happen?

  • A leader in the Romanian church during the persecution said:
    • “In my experience, 95 percent of the people who face the test of persecution pass with flying colors. But 95 percent of the people who face the test of prosperity fail it miserably.”
  • It is a challenge for us to be faithful when God blesses us.

God’s law of gravity has application for us in this discussion.

The greater the mass, the greater the pull it has on us, eventually sucking us in and making us indistinguishable from it.

scriptural examples
Scriptural Examples

Matthew 19:16-22

Acts 4:32 – 5:10

John 12:3

John 12:4-5


Giving is not just putting something in the offering plate. It is an act of worship to God.

Everything we have is from the hand of God.

We cannot freely accept God’s open-handed gifts if our fists are clenched on what we already have.