The most secret and innermost part of man is the heart. One thing with the heart is that it is the root of everything we do, the secret of all our desires and the innermost intention of whatever we do. One may appear good outwardly but the heart is full of evil.
This is the major difference between the two categories of people Jesus mentions today; the scribes and the widow who gave all she had.
Beware of the Scribes
The scribes are seen as erudite scholars especially when it comes to the religious text. They were the theologians at the time of Jesus. Like the Pharisees, they enjoyed the authority of leadership in Israel.
One thing I will like you to notify is Jesus use of the definite article “the” when He was talking about the scribes.
This entails that He is definitely referring to a certain group of the scribes who work only for self appraisal.
This infers that Jesus, talking about the scribes does not mean there may not be some who are good. In Sirach 38: 24 and 39:11, Sirach extols the work of the scribe. Ezra was seen as a scribe of the words of the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes to Israel” (Ezra 7:11).
When you read through the gospel, Jesus was emphasizing those who for the sake of mere praises and appearance do what they do. These type of people are motivated only by the respect, praises, dignity, honour, etc people accord to them.
They do these only to be seen and praised by the people. But their heart is very far from God. In this group are those who do what they do, not because they truly want to do it but because of the positions they occupy. Jesus tells the people to beware of these kinds of people.
It happens when we worship God for sake of self appraisal. Hence, this is when our worship of God is only to achieve cheap popularity.
This also happens when we go about using widows and poor people as means to be popular and win political positions.
This happens when the help we render to people has a selfish background. Hence, this is when the motivation of what we do are not by a pure intention. It is these types of attitudes that God asks us to beware.
Therefore, God condemns it, when our intentions of worshipping Him and helping people is motivated by some selfish reasons, but He extols the ones we do without deceit despite how poor we are. So, God always looks at the heart.
The Widow’s Mite.
Jewish community life degrades widows. Many of them are extremely poor because the Jews reserve many meaningful positions only for men in the Jewish community. Few truths about the widow in the gospel of today are:
1. She did not give to win the approval of anyone. She must have hidden the coins. But despite how hidden our good deeds are, God sees all. God rewards such kind of deeds. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
2. The widow must have understood that whatever she does is for God. She cannot just give all she had because others are giving. Something must have motivated her. She must be a devout Jew.
This may be the reason she gives all she has. Therefore, If God is not the motivation behind whatever we do, let us have a rethink.
3. Despite how poor she was, she gave from the abundance of the heart. Her motivation was ” all for God”. Therefore, let whatever we do come from a pure heart. God does not overlook it.
4. She did not give out of compulsion nor force. It was a decision. Paul advises “Each person should do as he has decided in his heart not reluctantly or out of compulsion since God loves a cheerful giver.” ( 2 Cor 9:6-7).
5. The widow understands that God always looks at the heart. She intends to win God’s approval and not like the scribes who work to win only people’s approval. Therefore, let us always work to win God’s approval and love.
Despite How Little.
The widow in today’s gospel teaches us that giving is not only for those who have it in abundance. Everyone born on the surface of the earth has something meaningful to contribute. Therefore, we do everything for God.
In the same vein, just as Jesus notices her, despite that she hides her money is also how God always looks at the heart of the giver, despite how we try to hide.
So, despite how little we think we have, always give from the heart. Do not grudge over it. It must not be money. It can be in form of service or help.
When you see something going wrong, you can contribute in making things go the right way, You can always contribute something for the welfare of the people. You can give your talent, your gift, cloth, prayers, encouragement etc.
Despite how little it may be, do it for God. Whether convenient or not convenient, do all for God.
There may be somebody you can touch with that little thing you do or say. Do all with good intention, for God searches the heart that is doing.
God always looks at the heart. So, whether we hide our intentions from the person that we give, always know that God always looks at the heart of the giver and rewards us according to our hearts.
God tells Jeremiah “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, and according to what their deeds deserve.” ( Jeremiah 17:10).
May God help us to do this and hence live in a close relationship with Him. May He continue to protect you from danger Amen