The Farthing

(above: a farthing from the Roman era)

It’s interesting that Jesus spent the end of his life watching people giving in the Temple.

And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” Mark 12:42-44

Jesus came to watch that day what people were doing in that temple. He literally “gazed intently” at the action. He was close enough to see two tiny coins in the hand of a shriveled, gnarled, old hand, and he was close enough to see who was giving and who was giving what.

Affluence and pauperdom

It’s a lesson in, “What does God look for when He watches us?”

  • He watched the affluence from which people gave. There were “many rich”, and then, one “certain poor” person. By “poor”, the word means “a pauper,” “a beggar”. This widow was someone who didn’t have enough to eek out an existence. It’s a reminder that God knows if we have much, or just a little. How easy it is to hide behind our “little.” But she did not.
  • He saw the amount that she gave. It was “two mites.” or “lepton”, which is the smallest denomination of coin. Together, they add up to a farthing. It was worth 1/128th of a day’s pay (of one denarious). It wasn’t enough to go out and buy a scrap of bread. One thing we can’t say, “I have so little, God certainly takes no notice of what I do with what I have.” Oh yes He does!

Why does the Lord say so much about what we do with our money? Half of the parables deal with money, and 15% of Jesus’ instructions deal with this subject.

What we do with our money is God’s business, and He makes it His business.

(distilled from Jesus at the Treasury – Part 1)

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