Bible Society of South Africa
Hennie Symington

A journey of the soul – Day 6

While the rich get richer, the poor are still with us

Bible text(s)

The Widow's Offering

41As Jesus sat near the temple treasury, he watched the people as they dropped in their money. Many rich men dropped in a lot of money; 42then a poor widow came along and dropped in two little copper coins, worth about a penny. 43He called his disciples together and said to them, “I tell you that this poor widow put more in the offering box than all the others. 44For the others put in what they had to spare of their riches; but she, poor as she is, put in all she had — she gave all she had to live on.”

Mark 12:41-44GNBOpen in Bible reader

21Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.”

Matthew 19:21GNBOpen in Bible reader

It’s no secret! The gap between rich and poor is increasing by the day. Corporate executives are coining it, athletes cash in and entertainers simply wallow in their riches. Despite our indignation, we all secretly wish it was us! We envy the rich and grant them their due – after all, they’ve worked for it.

What does Jesus say about the rich? He warns that riches are dangerous – dangerous to the soul and dangerous to society. When wealth robs us of our generosity, it closes our hearts and makes it difficult to enter the kingdom of heaven. At the same time, poverty or the poor cannot be idealised. Poverty is demeaning and robs human beings of their dignity and, often, forces people into a life of crime. Too often, the poor are seen as the good and the wealthy are seen as the bad guys. Yet, we are all sinners standing in the need of God’s salvation.

The challenge for the “haves” is to realise that what we own is not ours; it is given to us in trust, since God is the provider of all good things. Besides the fruit of our labour, are also the fruit of other peoples’ labour. Mines operate on the grinding hard labour of miners, many metres under the earth, and farms produce in the sweat of the workers’ brows. This goes for every industry from A to Z.

What does the Bible say? As Jesus sat near the temple treasury, he watched the people as they dropped in their money. Many rich men dropped in a lot of money; then a poor widow came along and dropped in two little copper coins, worth about a penny. He called his disciples together and said to them, “I tell you that this poor widow put more in the offering box than all the others. For the others put in what they had to spare of their riches; but she, poor as she is, put in all she had — she gave all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44

Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.” Matthew 19:21

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.7
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