Tuesday, November 6, 2012

PLEASE Do not preach a Stewardship Sermon Next Sunday

"Widow's Mite", James Tissot

The story of the "widow's mite" in Mark 12 is NOT a stewardship text.  It is not about how wonderful it was that she was willing to give everything she had and so therefore, no matter how poor you are, you have no excuse not to give.  

Pay attention to what Jesus says in Mark 12:38

"Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces,  and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets!  They devour widows' houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation."

Jesus is not pointing to the widow as an example of giving.  He's pointing to the religious leaders as an example NOT to follow.  Don’t be like these people who go around acting holy, and saying all the right things and making a show of being generous when in fact they are ignoring the real needs of people and are even taking advantage of the vulnerable.  Instead of taking this woman's money, they should be taking care of HER.

Now you pastor types who have been hearing and giving widow's mites sermons for all of your career are going to resist this and try to argue with me.  You maybe already have your stewardship drive planned based on this precious theme.  Too bad.  It's wrong.  And it misses the real challenge Jesus is giving.

Jesus is not saying it is a good thing this poor women is giving her last dime to support the temple.  Jesus has already condemned the system by driving out the money changers out of the temple and predicted its destruction.   If the religious leaders had been doing their job, she never would have been destitute to begin with.  Preach THAT if you want a stewardship sermon. 


  1. Kind of makes me wish I was still on the stewardship committee and about to give a Temple Talk. Well, maybe not.