Daily Archives: November 7, 2021

Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 27

 Track 1: Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit

Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17
Psalm 127
Hebrews 9:24-28
Mark 12:38-44

Today we have a lesson on Kingdom principles. What is important in the Kingdom of God? Who is important: Reading from Mark’s Gospel:

As Jesus taught, he said, “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.”   (Mark 12:38-40)

The scribes thought they were very important people. But as Jesus revealed, they were not very nice people. They devoured widow’s houses. Widows were held in a special place by God. We see this in his comments about a certain widow in today’s Gospel reading:

He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”   (Mark 12:41-44)

Though this widow was poor, she gave all that she had to God. In today’s Old Testament reading. we again look at Ruth. Reading from the Book of Ruth:

Naomi her mother-in-law said to Ruth, “My daughter, I need to seek some security for you, so that it may be well with you. Now here is our kinsman Boaz, with whose young women you have been working. See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Now wash and anoint yourself, and put on your best clothes and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, observe the place where he lies; then, go and uncover his feet and lie down; and he will tell you what to do.” She said to her, “All that you tell me I will do.”   (Ruth 3:1-5)

Naomi shared a word of wisdom, from God, with Ruth. Ruth did exactly what she was told. Though she was a Moabite, she sought God and his ways. Though she was a poor widow, God elevated her to a position of great importance. She married a rich and devout Hebrew. Together, they became central to God’s plan for all humanity. Reading from Ruth:

Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When they came together, the Lord made her conceive, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without next-of-kin; and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has borne him.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her bosom, and became his nurse. The women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David.   (Ruth 4:13-17)

Ruth and Boaz had a son, Obed. This not only established the line of David, the King of Israel, but ultimately the earthly lineage of our Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, Son of the most high God.

We often do not see the order of things. God establishes the order for his purposes. We are often not able to judge the significance of a person. God does not judge by outward appearance. He judges the heart of a person.

The Apostle Paul wrote this to the Church in Corinth:

Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.   (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)

Where does all this leave us? How important are we to the Kingdom of God? Perhpas the better question is: Where is our heart? Only God can determine that. Nonetheless, let us take a survey of our heart. How do we treat others, especially those of less means or privilege?

As we consider the unconditional love of God, we are brought to our knees. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. “Not many of us were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.” Yet, while we were sinners, Jesus paid the price for our sins. Let us show him our appreciation by the way we love others.

Jesus said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”   (Matthew 5:3)

 

Track 2: Suggestion

1 Kings 17:8-16
Psalm 146
Hebrews 9:24-28
Mark 12:38-44

Both the Old Testament and Gospel readings seem to suggest a theme. 1 Kinds tells how God used a poor widow to feed Elijah during a famine. She was willing to give all that she had to the prophet of God:

The word of the Lord came to Elijah, saying, “Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” So he set out and went to Zarephath. When he came to the gate of the town, a widow was there gathering sticks; he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, so that I may drink.” As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go home and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”   (1 Kings 17:8-12)

In the Gospel reading Jesus observes a poor widow give all that the money that she has to God:

He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”  (Mark 12:41-44)

What an we learn from these readings?

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