Lesson 6: Compassionate Hospitality

Our greatest fulfillment lies in giving ourselves to others.

– Henri Nouwen

Devotion: Read Mark 12:41-44. The poor and rich in Jesus’ day are treated very differently. Too often, the wealthy are welcomed and celebrated, while the poor are overlooked (Jam 2:1-7). However, Jesus honors the righteous poor as persons to be emulated (Lk 6:20). In this case, Jesus teaches his disciples to measure the value of an offering according to the degree of self-sacrifice involved rather than the amount given. God celebrates not how much we give but from how much. The early church teaches the same lesson (2 Cor 8:1-7). This perspective elevates the gifts of those who have fewer material possessions but offer more of themselves in their giving. Using this criteria, how are you doing at being generous? What are ways our culture and the Church treat the wealthy better than the poor? What stereotypes of each group exist? What might our church do to embody Jesus’ teaching in this passage?

Personal Worship Option: Pray the following: Loving God, may I have the mind of Christ, who though he was rich, for our sakes, became poor and dwelled among us, content to be the child of a poor couple, and earn his living with this own hands, and gave himself up for us… continue in prayer.

Dig A Little Deeper:

Read Mark 12:38-40. How does this passage expand the point of our devotional reading?

12:41 The Temple treasury usually refers to the interior safe rooms where valuables are stored. Jesus is most likely watching the thirteen offering boxes standing in the Women’s Court of the Temple where people placed freewill gifts.

12:42 She gives two “lepta” which are lightweight bronze coins, the equivalent to one sixty-fourth of a day’s wage. Mark notes these are equal to the least valuable Roman coin, a “quadrans,” translated as “a few cents” or “penny.”

12:43 The phrase can be translated “more than all those who are contributing,” “more than any of them,” or “more than all of them put together.” What is Jesus communicating with this statement?

12:44 Read Mark 10:17-22. How does Jesus measure the value of our giving? How do we measure the value of our giving? What advice would you give to a new Christian regarding financial giving?

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