Alan Cole: Comments on Mark 12:41-44

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Alan Cole: Comments on Mark 12:41-44

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on. Mark 12:41-44

“This is the sort of giving that Jesus would show at Calvary, and so this is the sort of giving that he asks from us.”

Alan Cole in The New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition ed. Carson, France, Motyer, Wenham (Downers Grove: IVP, 1997).

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Ron Jutze: Perspective on God’s blessings

“When God blesses us, He always has more than us in mind.”

Ron Jutze in Raising More than Money: Redefining Generosity Reflecting God’s Heart by Doug M. Carter (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007) 18.

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Isaac Watts: What happens when you survey the wondrous cross?

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died;
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ, my God;
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

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Wayne Myers: Money is an instrument

“Money is an instrument that can buy you everything but happiness and pay your fare everywhere but heaven.”

Wayne Myers in Raising More than Money: Redefining Generosity Reflecting God’s Heart (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007) 7.

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Albert the Great: Give, for love of God, today!

“An egg given during life for love of God is more profitable for eternity than a cathedral full of gold.”

If I give all I possess to the poor…but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Cor. 13:3

St. Albertus Magnus (c. 1206-1280, Dominican Friar, Bishop, Scholar) in Voices of the Saints by Bert Ghezzi (New York: Doubleday) 9.

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Eucherius echoes Psalm 49

“I have seen men raised to the highest point of worldly honor and riches. Fortune seemed to be in their pay, throwing everything to them without their having the trouble of asking or seeking. Their prosperity in all things outdid their very desires. But in a moment they disappeared. Their vast possessions were fled, and the masters themselves were no more.”

Psalm 49
Hear this, all you peoples; listen, all who live in this world, both low and high, rich and poor alike: My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the utterance from my heart will give understanding. I will turn my ear to a proverb; with the harp I will expound my riddle:

Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me-those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches? No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him-the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough-that he should live on forever and not see decay.
For all can see that wise men die; the foolish and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others. Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves. But man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish.

This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. Selah

Like sheep they are destined for the grave, and death will feed on them. The upright will rule over them in the morning; their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions.

But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself. Selah

Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him. Though while he lived he counted himself blessed—and men praise you when you prosper-he will join the generation of his fathers, who will never see the light of life. A man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.

Eucherius (c. 380-449) Bishop of Lyon in Voices of the Saints by Bert Ghezzi (New York: Doubleday) 199.

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Cassiodorus: Why and how monks give

“We always enjoy being generous.”

“We do not wish to be generous at the expense of others.”

Cassiodorus (490-585) historian, statesman, and monk, in The Letters of Cassiodorus trans. Thomas Hodgkin (London: Henry Frowde, 1886) 175, 180.

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Stanley Stuber: His yoke is light

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Mt. 11:28-30

“The strange paradox is that as we accept the heavy yoke of Christ, all our burdens become lighter. As we accept a complete stewardship and give ourselves and all that we have to the Kingdom cause, we become rich. At the very heart of Christian stewardship is the act of service, even at great cost. But the wonderful thing is that Christian service does something to us as well as to the people whom we serve. Stewardship is an act of Christian love.”

Stanley I. Stuber in the Illumination quote in the NIV Stewardship Study Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009) 1250.

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Benedict XVI: Almsgiving in Lent

“For this year’s Lenten Message, I wish to spend some time reflecting on the practice of almsgiving, which represents a specific way to assist those in need and, at the same time, an exercise in self-denial to free us from attachment to worldly goods. The force of attraction to material riches and just how categorical our decision must be not to make of them an idol, Jesus confirms in a resolute way: “You cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13). Almsgiving helps us to overcome this constant temptation, teaching us to respond to our neighbor’s needs and to share with others whatever we possess through divine goodness.

According to the teaching of the Gospel, we are not owners but rather administrators of the goods we possess: these, then, are not to be considered as our exclusive possession, but means through which the Lord calls each one of us to act as a steward of His providence for our neighbor.”

Pope Benedict XVI Message for Lent 2008 from the Vatican 30 October 2007.

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Offertory Prayer: Receive our gifts and with them ourselves!

“O God, who needest not to be enriched with any gifts that we may bring, yet who lovest the cheerful giver, receive these our offerings which we present before thee, and with them ourselves, our souls and our bodies, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to thee. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”

Presbyterian Church USA, The Book of Common Worship (Philadelphia: Board of Christian Education of the PCUSA, 1946) 346.

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