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Der Samuel's Sermon from October 15th 2023

Today, I want to share a powerful and timeless story from today’s Gospel reading: a story of faith, sacrifice, and the incredible value of giving from the heart. The reading is taken from the Gospel according to Mark. The story is as follows. - “He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which were worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she, out of her poverty, has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12.41-44).

In this passage, Jesus is in the temple, sitting opposite the treasury, and He observes people coming and going, putting their money into the offering box. Among the crowd, there was a poor widow who approached the box. She didn't have much to give - just two small coins worth very little in monetary terms. Yet, what she did next caught Jesus' attention and has inspired generations of believers ever since. The widow placed her two pennies offering into the treasury.

The story is not about who put more money in the offering box, but the attitude of giving, the way of giving, and what set her apart from the others was the attitude with which she gave. There are two types of giving something which I will talk about now. The first type is those who give whatever they have. In other words, they don’t care if they share what they have and stay without money. And the widow was the same. She gave out of her poverty and the little she had, and she gave with her whole heart. Jesus recognized the true spirit of her giving, called His disciples to Him, and said, "Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those contributing to the treasury. 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."

The second type of people are like the rich people we read in the story; they already had enough money to live on and weren’t dependent on the amount of money they gave. This story teaches us several profound lessons:

The Value of Sacrificial Giving The widow's offering reminds us that the worth of an offering is not measured by its monetary value but by the heart behind it. She gave her all, while others gave out of their surplus. This teaches us the importance of sacrificial giving, of going beyond our comfort zones to help those in need. Always remember, the true measure of a gift is not its greatness but with what love and self-denial it is given. If you want to give, give because you want to give, not because you want others to see you giving and praise you. “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9.7). Jesus once said. - “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.” (Matthew 6.3-4).

Trust and Faith in God The widow believed God would provide for her needs even if she gave everything. This demonstrates the importance of trusting in God's provision and believing that He will never forsake those who seek to follow Him. God looks not at the amount of our gift but the condition of our hearts when we give. The widow's heart was in the right place, and her generosity pleased God. You don't have to be wealthy to be generous. It's not about how much you have; it's about how willing you are to share what you possess, no matter how limited your resources might be.

This story serves as an inspiration to all of us. We can be like the widow, willing to give from the heart, even when it seems we have very little to offer.

We encounter countless opportunities to give, whether our time, talents, or treasures. The story of the widow's offering encourages us to give selflessly, to put our trust in God, and to offer not just from our abundance but from the depths of our hearts.

Let us strive to be like the widow, who, through her sacrificial giving, displayed unwavering faith and a profound understanding of the true nature of generosity. May we always remember that it is not the size of our gift that matters most but the love, faith, and compassion with which we offer it. In doing so, we honor the teachings of Jesus and become instruments of God's love in a world that so desperately needs it. Amen

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