All right, good morning everyone. Good morning. So good to be with you all this morning. My name is Alex. If I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you yet, I am on staff here at sewer. I serve as the co director of our college ministry christian challenge. So, so excited to be with you all this morning. I’m really looking forward to getting into the word together. If you would open up your bibles to mark 12 versus 41 through 44 that’s the passage we’ll be looking at this morning. If you don’t have a bible with you, we have plenty on the chairs around you. Maybe row in front or behind. Uh, if you need one ask someone, I’m sure someone can help you out. Uh those bibles are free for the taking. So if you don’t have one and you need one, you want a bible to read. We want you to take it and read it and study God’s word and get to know him more. So as you’re turning there, I want to open up this morning with a story. So my sophomore year of high school, I started playing baseball when I was young and my sophomore year of high school I made the varsity baseball team. But the issue was I was very overmatched offensively. I was very overmatched as a hitter. I was not a good enough hitter to uh to really compete and to play well. And so um often times my my coach would ask me to sacrifice bunt. And so if you, if you guys aren’t familiar with baseball, if you don’t know what that means, basically, it’s where the hitter goes up and instead of swinging he takes his bat and just kind of like holds it out in front of him. And then as the pitcher throws the ball, then the the objective is to kind of dead in the ball or just lightly tap the ball in front of the plate, kind of in the area where the pitcher catcher are. And so the point of doing that, the point of sacrifice bunting is to intentionally get yourself out in order for your teammates who are on base to advance. So you intentionally get yourself out to move your teammates up and I promise you there were plenty of times where I got up there in my youthfulness and my excitement and my arrogance and my coach gives me the sign to sacrifice bunt and I’m like coach, gosh coach, you’re really giving me the sign to bunt right now. Like coach, if I get up there and you let me swing you let me swing from my heels as hard as I can. I promise you I can hit the best single you’ve ever seen like a hard single right back up the middle. It would be awesome man. It would be so much better than a sacrifice bunt. And so I would be thinking that in my head, but through that through that process and through that year especially I had to learn that in baseball sometimes. What’s best is to sacrifice sometimes. What’s best was for me to sacrifice, to lay down my own preferences, my own desires, my own excitement in order to honor my coach and to help my teammates. And so this morning, as we talked today about sacrificial giving, that’s our topic for this morning. Being rooted in sacrificial giving. What’s best for you personally, is not always what’s best according to God. And in fact in the christian life, what’s most comfortable or easiest for you is almost never what God is most pleased by. It is actually better for us to sacrifice, to give of who we are and of what we have, even to the point of it costing us significantly. So let’s turn our attention to the passage, I’m gonna read it for us and then we will pray together. So beginning in verse 41, this is speaking of Jesus. And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box for they all contributed out of their abundance. But she out of her poverty has put in everything she had all she had to live on Father. We turn our attention to you and your word this morning and God in in my weakness in the weakness of your people. God, would you prove yourself to be strong and faithful? Would you shape your people using your word and your spirit? God, would you pour out your grace upon us as we look to your word and desire to see our lives conformed to the image of your son God, we pray that you would be with us in these things in jesus name. Amen Amen. So just to provide some context for us as we, as we dive into this passage together from Mark 10 from Mark chapter 10 through March, chapter 12, jesus is repeatedly being put to the test by the Pharisees, by the scribes, by the chief priests, all the religious elite, Jesus is repeatedly being put to the test by them. And Mark 12, verse 10 tells us that they’re trying to trap Jesus in his talk, And then verse 15 tells us that Jesus knows their hypocrisy. And so jesus is answering too many questions lots of pushback and he does so as he does. So he’s teaching, he’s correcting he’s even rebuking the scribes the Pharisees And all of this. He’s doing while trying to love and minister to his disciples. And so Jesus is going through his public ministry, in fact here at the end of Mark 12. He’s in the book of mark. He’s coming to the conclusion of his public ministry And that brings us to the end here, like I said of Chapter 12, where Jesus is now likely weary, he’s been enduring all of those things constantly being questioned, constantly pouring himself out, trying to teach and encourage the people around him, trying to correct their wrong perspectives of God. He’s been ministering publicly day after day to hard hearted people and he’s now come near the Treasury here in this passage, a place where where a public offering box is open for people to make offerings to God. And so in this passage specifically, we have four people or groups of people. The first is jesus, The second is the people, as mark writes in verse 41, which is primarily made up of, of rich people at least as we understand it here in this text. The third is a widow and the fourth is Jesus’s disciples. So those are the four people or groups of people that we see present here in this passage. So let’s look at those first three, we’ll get to jesus’s disciples later. But let’s look at those first three people or groups of people and look back at versus 41 42 I’m gonna reread them for us and he sat down opposite the Treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box, Many rich people put in large sums and a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins which make a penny. So the first point here is that jesus sees the gift given, jesus sees the gift given first for the people, the people at large and even for the many wealthy people, jesus is sitting quietly paying attention to the people offering financial gifts to God and it seems outwardly to be a good thing for these rich people to be putting in large sums, large amounts of money into the offering box. And I’m sure there’s there are some who were doing that in perhaps in a way that was that was pleasing to God with a right and pure heart. But there are also likely many who were not many who were who were giving and if you just put yourself in this setting and envision this with me that this is a, this is a physical offering in a public place where you know, people aren’t giving online, like many of us do, people are coming to a public space and physically giving coin after coin after coin dropping them into the offering box and you’re you’re hearing the clink clink clink every time. Okay, so this is a very public thing. People would know who those who, those um People who are making the large offerings are because they’d be up there either loudly dumping in a whole bunch of coins or dropping in one after one after one, they’re up there for 10 minutes, you know, so this is a very public, a very public thing that’s important for us to to recognize. And so perhaps some of those rich people were, we’re giving in a way that was pleasing to God. But it’s also possible that many were doing so desiring to draw attention to themselves. That temptation would be even more present in a public setting like this, giving to God in order to draw attention to themselves, desiring to receive the praise of man for their large gifts. And I would say that it is appropriate and good for those who are wealthy to be giving larger amounts than those who are not as wealthy, but as we’ll see here, as we, as we proceed further into the text, that is not actually the most important thing, the the amount given is not actually the most important thing. So let’s Let’s proceed to verse 42 where we see a poor widow come onto the scene, A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins which make a penny. The widow here is the primary person in focus in this passage. Okay, the main character here is the widow in this passage and a widow in this time period would typically already be poor, vulnerable, dependent because her husband was no longer alive and able to provide for her as she needed him to. And so unless a widow had other family and particularly uh sons or brothers to care for her and to provide for her for her for her to rely on, she would be in extreme poverty? And so Mark writing and saying that this widow was poor is very significant because if he were to just say that this, that a widow came to make an offering, it would already be understood that it’s very likely that she’s very poor. But he uses that adjective, that she is a poor widow and that’s, it sounds redundant, right? Because Mark’s audience would already know that that widow would almost assuredly be poor. But Mark saying that this widow is is a poor widow is communicating that even compared to the average widow, even compared to what his audience would understand the position of a widow. This woman was still poor, she was still poorer than that, that she was not just poor, but miserably poor. And in the verses just before this passage, we won’t spend too much time on this, but just to just to point to it briefly, in verse 40 jesus condemns the scribes the religious part of the religious elite. He condemns them in part because of their greed displayed in devouring widow’s houses. And so it’s very possible that this widow specifically had her own house unripe fully seized by the religious elite and men who profess to be Godly and so in terms of social and economic standing, this widow is about as low as it gets. And proceeding on verse 22 as we examined the offering that she made. What did she do? What did this poor widow do? Your translation may describe what the widow gave as two small copper coins. It may say two mites or the ancient greek. It is to lep to, or the singular form would be leptin, L E P T O N. Leptin. And that word in the ancient greek, leptin literally means a tiny thing. And so in the old english, that word was translated might M. I. T. Which comes from the word for a crumb or a very small morsel. So the point here is that this is a minuscule amount of money and compared to the large sums given by many others, what would someone care about a widow giving? Two mites? Yeah, Jesus still sees the gift that she gave. We see here an offering from this woman that would likely take great boldness again, putting yourself in this setting in this situation, in the widow shoes, many people have just given large sums, many rich people who everyone knows is rich and they’re gonna be again dumping in large amounts of coins or up there for a long time as they slowly drop in their coins. And she’s following them. She’s following after these many people who have given large sums already and likely many more people who will be doing so after her and being a widow of such low social and economic standing, a person might expect her to be ashamed to walk up to the offering box in a public setting and drop in two small copper coins that are worth next to nothing? And so a common person may consider her offering to be worthless. But that’s not how our Lord sees it. Let’s look at verses 43 and 44 and he called his disciples to him and said to them truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box for they all contributed out of their abundance. But she out of her poverty has put in everything she had all she had to live on. This is amazing what jesus is saying in verse 43 what he’s saying here is is yes, that that widow who gave two mites gave more than that rich person and that rich person and that person and that person and this person, he is, he is saying that that is part of it. But even more so what he’s saying is that the widow put in more than all who were contributing, meaning that she gave more than all of them put together. So for every gift given including each one of those large gifts given by the rich, take all of them put them together, Heat them up into this massive offering and this massive pile of coins and the two mites that the widow gave are still more, how could jesus say that? His statement doesn’t make any sense from a worldly perspective, how could a widow, a poor widow offering to mites? How could that be more as the equivalent of hundreds upon hundreds, perhaps the equivalent of thousands upon thousands of mites are being given? How could Jesus say that those two small coins from the widow were still worth more? There’s no way that Jesus could possibly say what he’s saying in verse 43 if he didn’t know the widow’s life and her heart, which brings us to our second point here, that Jesus knows the heart posture, Jesus knows the heart posture in his humanity, Jesus sees the physical, but he is also God in the flesh and he knows the motives of people’s hearts. In first Samuel chapter 16 verse seven. God is he speaking to Samuel says, for the Lord sees not as man sees, man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. And so I want, I want you guys to envision yourself, you’re you’re out for a walk, you’re in a beautiful setting, maybe a wooded area, maybe in the mountains. And you come alongside a running creek. And as you walk alongside that creek, you you hear the water flowing, maybe you hear some rock shifting around and you look down into that creek and it’s flowing with cold fresh water? You see the water, but you can also see clearly see everything that’s in it and beneath it. You see rocks. You see maybe some mud or dirt. You see maybe a few plants or fish. That is a helpful illustration to to get us to understand What what it means. When it says that the Lord looks upon our hearts, that he he does see the flowing water, he does see the water. He’s not blind to that, but he can see right through that to everything that is contained within that water within that creek. He can see our heart and the state of our heart and what our posture is, the motivations of our heart. And so even going back to verse 41, other translations say that jesus beheld how or observed how the people put money into the offering box. And so he was watching, he was watching and observing, but he was watching how or observing how the people were giving. He was examining their hearts, in other words, with what motives they were giving. And this is incredibly significant. It’s possible, if not likely, that the widow’s gift was unnoticed by everyone, except for jesus. And then jesus calls his disciples to himself and uses this moment to teach them a person’s actions. Tell us a great deal about their heart. And a case in point is the story of this woman, this widow, this widow gave in devotion to God. She gave unto the Lord. She displays where her ultimate hope and trust are found and that’s in God. We see the overflow of this widow’s heart in her actions and her hope. Her ultimate trust is not found in her money. It’s not found in her circumstances. It’s not found in the people around her and it’s not even found in herself, it’s found in God. And so how could this widow do this? How could this widow give those two small coins when they were all that she had to live on? As verse 44 describes her heart must have been filled with joy in God. How else could someone do do such a thing as this? And God loves when his people give with this gladness of heart that the that the widow here is displaying paul writes in second Corinthians chapter nine, verses six and seven. The point is this whoever sos sparingly will also reap sparingly and whoever sos bountiful e will also reap bountiful E. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver. So either this widow must be a fool or God must be her all in all. And we see that it’s clearly the latter through christ, greatly commending her before his disciples. And even as we examine verse 44, that Jesus says, speaking of the people at large, that they all contributed out of their abundance. But she out of her poverty has put in everything she had all she had to live on what a beautiful and practical display of faith in God actively at work in a person. The 3rd and final point here is that Jesus commends the sacrificial giver. Jesus commends the sacrificial giver here in verse 44. We see the reason why Jesus says what he says in verse 43. We see the reason why he counted the widow as giving more than all the other, all the other people, and it was because she gave sacrificial e while the others did not, and Jesus is pleased by the sacrifice of this widow. It’s interesting here that that Jesus focuses on the widow here. He he does not condemn the rich people who are giving large sums, as he had just condemned the scribes previously, but he does not commend the rich people giving large sums either. Rather, his focus is on the widow and he commends the actions of the widow to his disciples, particularly because of her great sacrifice. It’s amazing here to look at the contrast between the widow’s actions and those of others. We see the stark contrast between the widow’s actions and the many rich people who are giving out of their abundance, as Jesus says in verse 40 for that many, that they all contributed out of their abundance. But this widow, this woman, she out of her poverty puts in everything she had all she had to live on this woman’s actions are also in stark contrast to the greed of the religious elite describes the Pharisees and others. She’s likely suffered because of their actions instead of being cared for by them as as God would desire Widows in that time or attended to be cared for. Instead, the religious elite, out of their greed and pride have oppressed her and forced her to suffer. And so I said a few minutes ago that Jesus statement in verse 43 seems not to make any sense from a worldly perspective. But here in verse 40, for the actions of the widow are what don’t make any sense from a worldly perspective, because she already has a tiny amount that was at best sufficient to meet her basic needs for that one day. So how easy would it have been for this widow to see herself as being entirely dependent upon those two tiny coins? How easy would it have been for this widow to hold onto them so tightly that her knuckles turned white? Yeah, she displays with her actions that she is dependent upon God, her hope, her trust her confidence. She has placed them in God. She has not placed them in herself or in what her money can provide for her. She has placed her faith in God to provide for her. She has this joy in God that runs deep into her heart. And so much so that when faced with the decision between coming to God empty handed or releasing everything she had to live on. She chooses to give all that she had to God in the worship of him. What an example of self denial. What an incredible example of self denial. This widow laying down her own comforts, her own desires and even her own very basic needs in order to give sacrificial e toward God. She understood that giving sacrificial to God is the privilege and the honor of God’s people. It is our joy to give sacrificial to God to give back to him in worship of him because he has blessed us and cared for us in such a gracious way. It is our joy to do that. It’s not our obligation. And she understood that. And so how true is it that we ourselves, if we are in christ, if we have put true faith in him, we belong to God. And furthermore, everything we have belongs to God. This woman puts that truth into action, testifying to her belief in God that all that she is and all that she has is by God’s grace. It all belongs to him. And this widow’s actions squashed the object. The objection of I can’t give much, so I may as well not give it all who has less than she did. And yet she gave it all in the worship of God. So Jesus sees what we give, but he is more concerned with the heart displayed and the sacrifice made, Jesus does see what we give. He does know what we give the specific amount, the specific frequency, all of that. He’s omniscient, he’s all knowing he does see that, but he is more concerned with the heart displayed and the sacrifice made by the person making an offering to him. And so as we shift our attention here to application here at sewer, we have many very, very generous people and I would definitely consider our church to be a generous church. And I am I am so thankful for how God has produced that in all of you. I’m so thankful for the generosity of of all of you individually in your personal lives, in your personal walk with christ and the people around you. But I’m also grateful for for the collective generosity of this church. I’m confident that God is using it to advance his kingdom and to really make an eternal difference not only here in Lincoln Nebraska, but even far beyond that. I am so grateful to God for how he has produced that in in all of you. But I do want to put a question before us to consider what would it look like in light of that, that reality, in light of that generosity, what would it look like for each of us to give generously, even to the point that it’s a sacrifice, What would it look like if each of us did that to give of ourselves and our resources in a way that is costly, in a way that brings some kind of inconvenience or negative consequence upon ourselves in our own lives. What would it look like for us to sacrifice in that way? Because everything we have belongs to God, all of it. Everything we have belongs to him. We should give sacrificial e of ourselves. We should give sacrificial of our resources primarily to God. But definitely also to others. I hope you see that from the text and I hope that’s clear. And even a very simple practical way to do that is that God has has given us a command in an instruction as his people to tithe or to give an offering of 10% of all of our earnings, of all of our resources. So if you’re looking for a very simple, simple and practical way to apply this, I would very much encourage you to prayerfully consider what would it look like for me to sacrifice? Far beyond what God is asking of me, what would it look like for me to give and to sacrifice? And to do that with a pure heart for him and his glory, what would it look like for me to do that? Well beyond what God commands in his word? If we do this with a pure heart, not only will it be pleasing to jesus, but he will commend us also and church what that we have given to God will not be heaped back onto us. In return, we know that God loves to bless those who worship him with the things that he has entrusted to their care. And so we don’t use that as our primary motivation. We don’t give to God in order that we would be blessed back in return. We should give to God in worship of him, overflowing joy in our hearts wanting to glorify him and see his kingdom advance. But we do still believe his word is true that he who so is bountiful, E will also reap bountiful E. And so as we come to a close here, I want to shift our attention and remind us that the father himself has sacrificed his very best for his people for the whole world. He has sacrificed his very best in sending his own son to take on flesh to live in our place and to die in our place. He has sacrificed his son and sent his son to bear the full penalty for our sin upon himself. What an amazing and great sacrifice that the father has given. That jesus has accomplished and that the holy spirit seals in those who have been saved. We look to God as an example of what the truest and greatest sacrifice looked like and our heart should over just be overwhelmed and overflow with gratitude and thanksgiving and worship of God in light of that truth Jesus sees the gift given. Jesus knows the heart posture and jesus commends the sacrificial giver church. May we be disciples of jesus christ who give cheerfully and sacrificial E to God and trust him to use it all for his glory. Let’s pray God, We worship you this morning. You were the one who has given sacrificial e beyond what we can understand. But God, we are so thankful for your sacrifice, jesus, We’re so thankful for what you have done for us. Would you help that God? Would you use that that truth? That reality to shape our hearts? Would you, would you use your word and your spirit to shape the hearts of your people and to lead us forward in faithfulness to you God God, we trust you. We pray that you would be at work in and through us for your glory in jesus name. Amen.