Sacred Truth Taught by Contrast…

Sometimes two stories in Scripture are placed next to each other by the inspired writer for the truth they communicate by contrast.  This often happens in the gospel records, which are not strictly chronological, but sometimes arranged topically.  This morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord” I read two such accounts… What Jesus said about the “scribes” (religious leaders – who were especially thought of as Jewish Bible scholars) and the “poor widow” and her gift.

Think about it…

The pompous, proud, image-driven “scribe” – really a greedy hypocrite.  Set over against the devout, sincere, selfless “poor widow” – motivated by sacrificial generosity.  So who won the admiration and praise of our Savior, Jesus Christ?  Here it is right out of the Bible – truth taught by contrast…

“And in his teaching Jesus said, ‘BEWARE OF THE SCRIBES, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.’”

“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.’”  (From Mark 12:38–44 ESV)

Let that sink in… Those who please the Lord, capture His attention, and win His approval are often not those who appear righteous (in fact those people are often “self-righteous”).  The ones that win the Lord’s approval are simple, sincere believers who are NOT self-seeking (and instead they are self-giving)… I can tell you which side of that contrast I want to be on!  Oh Lord, help me to be more like the “widow” – and NOT like the “scribe”!

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