"Meanderings in Mark"
Series on Mark, Lesson 47

Jesus Wants Your Two Cents Worth

Read: Mark 12:41-44

Text: (Mark 12:44b KJV) … but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Theme: When you give what you have to Jesus He will do great things with it.


(Luke 6:46 KJV) And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

QUESTION - If we only read "and many that were rich cast in much," what lessons can we find?

I. It doesn't matter what others do.

(Mark 12:41b KJV… and many that were rich cast in much.

A. Don't be discouraged by those who do "more."

QUESTION - Do we sometimes feel this way? Why?

B. Don't look down on those who do "less."

(2 Cor 10:12 KJV) For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

ILLUS. Pharisee and Publican, cf. Luke 18:10-14

ILLUS. Parable of the Workers, (Mat 20:12 KJV) Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.

QUESTION - Do we sometimes do this?

QUESTION - How might we avoid doing this?

QUESTION - If we only read "And there came a certain poor widow, " what lessons can we find?

II. It doesn't matter who you are.

(Mark 12:42a KJV) And there came a certain poor widow…

QUOTE - "God doesn't call those who are fit, he fits those who are called!

QUESTION - Can you think of some Biblical examples of this? When did God call / use someone who was (in the world's eyes) less than we would expect?

ILLUS. David was the YOUNGEST.

ILLUS. Mary Magdalene was DEMON POSSESSED.

ILLUS. Apostles were "unlearned and ignorant men."

ILLUS. Gideon was AFRAID


ILLUS. Timothy was SICKLY

ILLUS. John Mark was a one-time QUITTER

A. God calls all kinds of people.

B. God can use YOU!

QUESTION - If we only read " and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing, " what lessons can we find?

III. It doesn't matter what you have.

(Mark 12:42b KJV) … and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

QUOTE (Ivor Powell, Mark's Superb Gospel) - "The coins were the smallest in use; they were called a lepton which literally means "a thin one." One lepton, so we have been informed, equalled one sixteenth of a penny. Two of them equalled an English farthing, which was so worthless, its production was discontinued in Britain. The whole point of the passage is that the woman could not have given less; her love forbad retaining one lepton for herself. Neither could she have given more, for this was all she possessed. We can only imagine her quietly apologizing to God for the poverty-stricken offering. She did not know that God, at that moment, was seated only a few yards away watching her every action. It seemed surprising that He knew exactly what she was giving. The small coins would have been hidden in her hand. She would be ashamed for anyone to know how little she was giving, and yet He knew. He was fully aware of her gift; He knew every detail of the sacrifice behind her offering. He probably knew also that she who would give her last coin, would also be willing to give her last breath for the Lord and His house. We cannot help but wonder how we compare with this woman of a bygone age."

A. A little money is a lot in God's hands.

QUOTE (Ironside) - "Now heaven's method of computing values is altogether different to that of earth. We are accustomed to judge by the amount given. The Lord estimates the value of the gift by the amount one has left!"

(Prov 11:25 KJV) The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.

(Eccl 11:1 KJV) Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.

(Mal 3:10 KJV) Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

(Luke 6:38 KJV) Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

(2 Cor 9:6 KJV) But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

QUOTE (Weirsbe) - "It's not the portion, but the proportion that is important in giving."

QUESTION - Obviously, today's text gives us this wonderful principle that we can apply to our giving (i.e. It doesn't matter what you have), but are there other areas of life where we can apply the same principle?

B. A little soul winning is a lot.

QUOTE (George W. Truett) - "The bringing of one soul to Jesus is the highest achievement possible to human life."

ILLUS. John Bunyan was saved by somebody dropping a tract in the street.

ILLUS. Dwight L. Moody was saved by a shoe salesman.

C. A little prayer is a lot.

ILLUS. The story is told of a young woman who lived a life of poverty. One day in desperation, she went into the corner store to beg for a loaf of bread to feed her family. She approached the grocer who stood behind the counter, and asked for the bread. He, knowing her situation, sneered back at her, "What do you have to pay for it with." The woman produced a piece of paper and said, "All I have is this little prayer I've written out on this paper." The man mockingly snatched the paper from her hand and placed it on the scale saying, "Well, let's see just what that is worth." He then placed a loaf of bread on the other side of the scale, expecting it to outweigh the paper. However, the scale did not move. Somewhat taken aback, the grocer shook the scale, assuming it must be stuck. However, it did not budge. He placed another item on the scale, thinking it would dislodge and drop, but still it remained the same. He grabbed several canned goods and placed them on the scale, but still it obstinately refused to lower. By now, a crowd had gathered, the woman was sobbing, and the man was red in the face with dismay. He took the things from the scale, put them in a bag, filled it to the top with other groceries, and handed it to the woman, who left weeping. After she was gone, the grocer placed other items on the scale and it worked perfectly. He was about to turn back to his work when he noticed the piece of paper that had fallen onto the floor. Picking it up he read these words, "Give us this day our daily bread."

(Jer 33:3 KJV) Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

QUOTE (Spurgeon) - "I am sometimes startled at the power of a feeble prayer to win a speedy answer."

D. A little ability is a lot.

QUOTE "The real tragedy in life is not in being limited to one talent, but in the failure to use that one talent."

E. A little faith is a lot.

(Luke 17:6 KJV) And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

IV. What matters is a willing heart.

(I.e. the required ATTITUDE)

(Exo 25:2 KJV) Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.

(1 Chr 29:9 KJV) Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.

(2 Cor 8:5 KJV) And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

(2 Cor 8:12 KJV) For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.

QUOTE (Jesse Hendley) - "God is no respecter of persons, but He is a great respecter of surrender."

A. People do what they WANT to do.

B. If you don't WANT to serve, you won't.

1. True in the area of giving.

ILLUS. The world’s stingiest man went Christmas shopping, but everything he saw was too expensive except a $50 vase that was on sale for $2 because the handle had been broken off. He bought it and had the salesman ship it by mail so that his friend would think he had paid $50 for it and that it had been broken in shipment. A week after Christmas he received a thank you note from his friend. "Thank you for the lovely vase," his letter said. "It was so nice of you to wrap each piece separately."

2. True in every other area, as well.

QUOTE - "If you only serve God when you feel like it, the older you get, the less you will feel like it, and the less you will serve God."

ILLUS. A former pastor of mine used to say that Christians only actively served Christ an average of 10 years.

ILLUS. Another pastor, Tom Ward, puts that figure at more like 2-3 years!

(Maybe it's because people only serve when they feel like it.)

QUESTION - What do you think of this line of thinking? Agree? Disagree? Why?

QUESTION - If it is true, then how do we as believers guard against it in our lives?

C. Work on WANTING to serve!

QUESTION - How do we do this? What are some practical steps we can take to ensure we WANT to serve Jesus… to ensure we maintain the correct ATTITUDE in our Christian walk?

QUOTE (Oswald J. Smith) - "To obtain God's best, we must give our best - to win, we must surrender - to live, we must die - to receive, we must give."

V. What matters is giving hands.

(i.e. the required ACTION)

(Mark 12:42 KJV) … and she threw in …

ILLUS. It is not enough to say you believe. Belief, faith, is manifested in action. For example, supposing one of the Great Wallendas was to string a tight rope across the Grand Canyon. Suppose they walked back and forth across it several times. Suppose they took a wheelbarrow and pushed it back and forth across the tightrope a couple of times. Suppose they then walked up to you and said, "Do you believe I can push this wheelbarrow across that tightrope without falling?" You would say yes, wouldn't you? But what if they said, "OK, get in the wheelbarrow?" THAT is true belief… true faith… that manifests itself in action!

ILLUS. Abraham believed God enough to be WILLING to sacrifice his only son. He also believed God enough to ACTUALLY sacrifice His son. He was in the act of doing just that when the angel of the Lord stayed his hand.



Text: (Mark 12:44b KJV) … but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.


Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright © 1998 William E. Johnson.