Mark 12:38-44 covers two topics. For the Word of God to be relevant to us today, we must first read it; then interpret it; then understand it; and then apply it. There is no difficulty in understanding or interpreting Mark 12:38-40. The challenge is in applying it. The obvious temptation is to draw a parallel between the teachers of the law to whom Jesus referred, and the pastors and priests that officiate in our local church environment today. So with all the caution we can muster, let us proceed with our application.
First of all, if the cap does not fit, then don’t wear it. Put another way, if you are a teacher of God’s Word, and I am now keeping the focus on myself, then it is your responsibility to read this passage and determine whether or not he description applies to you. Teachers of God’s Word should first and foremost be students of God’s Word. We should approach God’s Word with a sense of awe, and with the full realization that for us to fully and accurately understand the whole counsel of God, we must become like God and understand God. And since that has only limited possibilities, we understand that we will never fully understand God’s Word. With this in mind we consciously ask God to reveal to us that much about Himself and His Word at any given time as He chooses to do. We see ourselves in a scenario in which The God of the Universe who became flesh and dwelt among men, is going to Divinely impart to us that which we need to understand about Him and about His Word.
This is in itself such a humbling experience, that there ought to be no room for pride as we in turn share with others what God has imparted to us. We ought to be very conscious of the fact that it is God who is the only Teacher in the equation, and we merely share what we are taught.
Therefore, the persons to whom Jesus refers in this passage are sick, demented, misguided impostors, the likes of which I pray do not darken the hallowed area of the pulpit. If you believe that this description fits your Pastor or Priest, then you need to politely ask him where He gets his teaching from. If it is from God, then ask him why it is that he places so much focus on himself, the way he dresses, the importance he attaches to himself, and about all the other concerns expressed by Jesus. Depending on his answer, you may or may not need to seek fellowship at a different local church. However, if you are a Bible Teacher and Jesus’ description applies to you, ask His forgiveness and ask Him to clarify and sanctify your perspective immediately.
The second lesson in Mark 12:41-44 does not teach what many claim it does. Jesus does not teach that the gifts of a few pennies is preferred over the gift of a million dollars. Jesus does not teach that the wealthy who partially give of their wealth have done something wrong or have not done all that they should. There is a reason why the tithe is 10% and not 100%. Jesus does not teach that the widow was right in giving 100% of what she had.
But Jesus did teach that whereas the wealthy are able to give large amounts, and be credited for doing so, the small gifts from the poor will be appreciated by the only person who really matters when their attitude and motive in giving is acceptable to God. Put another way when it comes to “God-credits”, the rich have no advantage over the poor. This lesson is not about the rich; it is about the poor.
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