Intentions of The Heart

Great Word from Johannes this morning - enjoy!

In today’s text we see Jesus talking about three types of people:  1) the scribes, 2) people that have plenty of money and then 3) a lady who does not have money.

[38] And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces [39] and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, [40] who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” [41] And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. [42] And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. [43] And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. [44] For 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.” (Mark 12:38-44 ESV)

First He addresses the matter of prayer. Jesus warns them of the scribe that like people to notice them by the way they dressed and by their long lofty prayers. I want to focus on their prayers. Can you picture this leader that is way too full of himself and likes to draw attention to himself. The Bible says beware of His long lofty prayer. I have been in prayer meetings were people have used such high words in the opening part of their prayer that it made me feel inadequate to even follow that since I was reaching for my Webster’s dictionary to figure out what they were saying. I also heard people pray for such a long time where all I had on my heart to pray was all of two minutes. Jesus says to the one that feels inadequate after all those big words don’t be intimidated by that even though we so often are. Jesus says it is not how long you pray or how many big words you use or how good your prayer sounds to others. What matters to Him is what and why you are praying. Jesus says that He sees your intentions and even if you only get out one sentence, and it does not sound pretty, if you do it because you want to and need to talk to Jesus, it means more to Him than a hour long prayer because you want others to think highly of you.

Secondly Jesus addresses the way people give. There is the rich who have plenty to give and when they do so they throw down a thick roll of money looking over their shoulder to make sure that people noticed it. There is also people that do all this work all the time and say it is a service to the Lord but all they do is tell everyone they see about all this good stuff they did so they can get a pat on the back. Both these types of things make others feel intimidated and of less value. This wrongful intention is hurting the cause of Christ no matter how much money you give or how many hours you serve if it is done to get the praise of man that is all you get. This attitude makes people that cannot do as much or give as much feel that they cannot make a difference because they do not have what you have and that is not so when it comes to serving Christ.

Jesus points to the widow that only had a penny to give. I bet she felt that her offering was nothing after all those high rollers dumped all those rolls of cash. But Jesus knows more than just what we see. Jesus knows what is going on in our heart when we do this. Jesus saw that was all that woman had to give and she gave it out of her love for Him. The same goes to someone that might not be able to do a lot of work for others because of other responsibilities or a physical condition. When done in the right intentions, just carrying someone’s grocery bags to the car means a lot more than building a house for someone with the wrong intentions of your heart. 

Remember today it is not how long or how good your prayers sounds to others nor does it matter how much you have to give what matters is why you pray and the condition of your heart when you give.

Remember God sees what we don’t. Little is much when God is in it!