Wednesday, June 27th. Mark 12:38-44

As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

 

He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:38-44

 

A couple from Faith just returned from vacation in Europe.  As they told me of their travels they mentioned the beautiful church buildings they saw in every little village through which they passed.  Every village had one.  And every church building they entered was remarkable.  So I did the math.

 

Many of those buildings were built during feudal times.  Think institutional slavery blessed by church and culture.  None of those beautiful church buildings were built with bake sales.  They were built with money provided by wealthy landowners and labor provided by the working poor.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that, once one village had a beautiful, massive church building, the folks one village over thought they could do even better.  So people competed with one another, a massive religious edifice complex.

 

To the glory of God?

 

The scribes devour widows to fuel their lifestyle of public extravagance.  They want to see and be seen.  Their public prayers are spoken to elevate their standing among those who hear them.  They could just as well be praying to Ba’al.  The widow gives everything.  Including her money.

 

The widow gives.  The scribes purchase.  Therein lies the difference and Jesus watches it happen.

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, in our living, in our giving, may our focus and passion rest on doing good rather than looking good.  Help us manage well whatever we have been given.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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3 Responses to “Wednesday, June 27th. Mark 12:38-44”

  1. Mary Lou Todd Says:

    Oh, Pastor Kerry!!! An “edifice complex”??? Really!

    I’m a daily reader and enjoy your devotions very much; I always learn something.

    Blessings,

    Mary Lou Todd
    Memphis, TN
    St. Luke Lutheran Church, Cordova, TN

  2. Gene Says:

    This still is going on!! We see this ‘edifice complex’ continuing in the huge megachurches of modern day. There is one in Dallas, that has an aquarium, which probably cost more than there entire building at our home church. And, not only in megachurches. Every church built today, always has so much more than it needs in order to have Jesus show up. I attended church in a tent, last weekend, yes in a tent. I will tell you that Jesus showed up there, and we worshipped Him. It was the most moving service I have attended in several years.

  3. Sharon Longnecker Says:

    Thank you! I should be writing “thank you” every day, but just know that you are appreciated by my family and friends to whom I send these each day. I am pretty sure that for some of them, it is their only contact with God’s word. I thank God for the gift He has given us in you. I am grateful to you for using your talents by the power of the Spirit to bless so many of us.

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