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The Widow's Farthing.

The Widow's Farthing.

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Published by glennpease

Mark xii. 41-44 ; Luke xxi. 1-4.

Mark xii. 41-44 ; Luke xxi. 1-4.

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Published by: glennpease on Aug 23, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE WIDOW'S FARTHIG.BY REV THOMAS T. LYCH.Mark xii. 41-44 ; Luke xxi. 1-4.Theee days before Christ ' cast into the offerings of God'the greatest gift that ever was presented, he honouredwith particular praise one of the tiniest gifts ever made.Among a crowd of givers, he noticed a widow who onlygave one farthing, and awarded to her the palm of libe-rality. In that court of the temple called the court of the women, there stood thirteen vessels, shaped like trum-pets, to receive offerings. Shaped like trumpets ! surelya sarcasm is lurking here. As the rich man drops inmuch, the clash of it sets the trumpet blowing, and all thetemple knows what a liberal man is passing by. Thesevessels are in the court of the women ; for the world wouldfare ill if women were excluded from giving. Let themat least have their share of that privilege. But two miteswould cause the trumpet to sound very faintly, if at all ;such a mote of liberality as this could only grow manifestin the sunbeams flowing from Christ's appreciative eyes.Love can see love, and will honour it Here is a high esti-mation put upon a farthing ; for Christ views it not rela-tively to what it will buy, but to the love that gave itBut there is no ascetic or envious disparagement of riches in Christ's words. The rich 'gave of their abund-ance ;' and great gifts are as capable of illustrating puremotives as small ones, and occasions arise when they areso necessary, that till love prevails in the hearts of thatclass who can offer them, the kingdom oi Ctad. caxmot be,THE WIDOW'S FAETHIG. 119
in the fullest sense, established. Christ dispensed withwealth in his first followers, and so he did with learningand secular dignity ; yet all of these may be most bene-ficially consecrated to his service.If Christ thought much less of the rich men's giftsthan they did themselves, it was for such reasons as these :they gave for ostentation, loving, so to say, the trumpetmuch more than the temple ; they gave, though readilyenough, yet without a grateful sense of personal obligation,and with little spiritual appreciation of the true glory of Jehovah's service. And again, some perhaps gave onlybecause usage so required and policy urged their observ-ance of the usage, though their heart inwardly grudgedthe offering.And if Christ thought much more of the widow's giftthan any of these men would have done, or even his owndisciples, it was because of the grateful love she mani-fested; of the deep sense of religious blessings she evinced;of the self-respect, that valued a share in spiritual obliga-tions, and would not allow penury to be an excuse forwithholding an offering ; and of that confiding trustshown towards the God of Israel, which would not dividethe last farthing with him, giving him one mite and keep-ing the other, but which gave him both.But observe four things :1. It is not the poor, or widows, that Christ contrastswith rich men, but ' a widow.' She was, perhaps, in al-most as great contrast to many of her own class as tothese ; for many of the poor forget God, and offer himnothing, because they have but little ; and many widowsmake widowhood worse by murmuring. But circumstancesmay be imagined in which it would not have been rightfor the widow to give away her last farfhing. "Brafc "riVq
120 THE widow's fabthing.suppose she was in such circumstances? AJieart that soloved God, as hers did, would understand him too well todivert the last farthing from the service of her sick child,if she had one. Then, perhaps, God would have receivedonly a mite. She threw herself utterly on God's providence,and would not withhold from him even the half of her lastfarthing.2. Christ might have given his disciples a differentlesson ; he might have said, " See how these rich mencan offer openly in the temple ; how much better wouldit be to give private aid to this poor widow. That wouldbe real love, this is but paraded zeal" We are free, of course, to learn this lesson and apply it. But it is muchmore common to notice what the poor want done for them,than what they do ; to teach liberality towards them, thanto learn from their liberality.3. Christ ' sat over against the treasury/ as if placinghimself there on purpose to observe. Our gifts, then, areoffered under the divine eye. We know the difference be-tween a bad half-crown and a good one ; but we think ahalf-crown from a bad man and from a good one of thesame value. Christy doubtless, thinks otherwise. He triesthe heart as well as the money; notices what our spiritualtemper is, and what proportion our gifts bear to our pos-sessions.4. Though money came plentifully to the treasury, andthe splendid temple was sustained by splendid offerings, yetthis vigour of the 'voluntary principle' did not preventChrist from being crucified, nor avail to keep the templestanding. It was not the purified will of believing heartsthat brought the plentiful money. There may be strongmotives for supporting 'religion' when there is in the heartbitter enmity against the ypry religion sustained.

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