Holy Week: The Economy of the Kingdom

Monday + Lesser Day 2022 + Luke 20:45-21:4

The Gospel of Luke is filled with parables. Many famous ones at that. The Prodigal Son to the Lost Sheep, Luke loves to offer a good parable from Jesus.

Today, however, isn’t a parable from Jesus. No, Jesus, in this scene, has turned into the color commentator for a scene that has unfolded before him. For those who do not know the color commentator is the one who comments on the events unfolding within an event that is happening. You got me?

However, before he begins his commentary, he offers a warning to his disciples concerning the heart of the local scribes. His words are direct and deliberate. 

He describes the scribes in great detail. They like wearing long robes (this might be why I buck and struggle wearing a robe!), they love to smooze in the gathering area, they get the best seats, and they have elaborate feasts. 

Everything about their outward appearance is “sharp” yet everything about their inward heart is nothing but a narcissist convention.

In describing the scribes, Jesus highlights them as self absorbed narcissists who take advantage of other people and will receive condemnation. It’s a sobering thought to imagine Jesus saying of someone, “they will receive the greater condemnation.” 

I think we need to be brave enough to sit with this truth and ask God to help us a bit more in our understanding.

It’s at this point Jesus shifts from giving a warning to becoming the color commentator. In doing so he points to a widow bringing her offering to church, whose outward appearance isn’t sharp like the scribes, but is just… “poor”. Don’t miss the fact that Jesus describes in great detail the outward appearance of the scribes yet only mentions that the widow is poor.

Nothing special, nothing fancy, no sparkles, no glitter, no Golden Goose shoes – she is merely poor. While poor, she is richly faithful and generous and she is the type of person that the disciples are to be like. For in watching the actions of this poor widow, Jesus helps the disciples see what the actions of their life should be.

For Jesus, as he is preparing to give his life for the sake of the world, is teaching the disciples how to give their life in the midst of this world.

How do they do this? They are to give, not out of their abundance, but out of what they have. 

Jesus’ words in vs. 3 would drive any self respecting pro capitalism person nuts because Jesus says, “the poor widow has put in more”. Now, we would say, “no she didn’t, the scribes did!”

We think this because we think it’s a numbers game with life, but the Kingdom of God is not a numbers game, it’s a heart game. 

The Scribes gave because they had enough, an abundance, to live on and not be hurt.

The Poor widow gave because her heart was right and she knew that God was more than enough to live on.

It’s not that Jesus needs your money or stuff. It’s that you need to give away your money and stuff to be like Jesus.

Let me leave you with this, this Lesser Day Monday of Holy Week 2022, “the poor widow” says Jesus, “put in all she had to live on.” 

Does this mean that because she gave all she had to God, then all she had left was God and is that enough? 

The economy of the world would say, “HA! Nope.”

The economy of the Kingdom would say, “it’s more than enough.”

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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