Luke 20:45-21:4

While everyone was listening to Jesus, he said to his disciples:
Guard against the teachers of the Law of Moses! They love to walk around in long robes, and they like to be greeted in the market. They want the front seats in the meeting places and the best seats at banquets.  But they cheat widows out of their homes and then pray long prayers just to show off. These teachers will be punished most of all.
Jesus looked up and saw some rich people tossing their gifts into the offering box.  He also saw a poor widow putting in two pennies.  And he said, “I tell you that this poor woman has put in more than all the others.  Everyone else gave what they didn’t need. But she is very poor and gave everything she had.”
            You often cannot tell a fake by the external appearance.  A pious religious person on the outside may not necessarily be a genuine Christ follower on the inside.  The teachers of the law and the Pharisees in Christ’s day liked to do things for a show, for the attention.  They were important and respected people, desiring and enjoying the accolades of others.  They lived to be noticed.  But it was really all just a façade, a carnival sideshow.  The outside and the inside were not synced together.
            There is a marked contrast between the rich Pharisee and the poor widow.  Whereas the rich religious man put a wad of money in the temple offering for everyone to see, the impoverished widow put barely anything in, but it was everything she had to give.  The widow’s outward giving and inward disposition were perfectly matched.  She gave everything out of the abundance of her heart.
            The kingdom of God is not a matter of outward eating and drinking and ostentatious displays of spirituality, but is a matter of inner righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Aim for the heart, and the hands will follow.


            Loving God, my heart longs to worship you with everything I possess.  Transform me from the inside-out so that all my thoughts and motives may humbly express my words and actions.  May Jesus be praised.  Amen.

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