Every now and then when I get into an introspective mood (whether it’s assessing the good or the bad things I’ve done), I often wonder if God really notices me. Sure, He knows what I’ve done, but does He really pay attention? I mean, with billions and billions of people in the world (possibly, even the universe. But, that’s another story…), how can I — one small grain of sand — get God to notice me?
I think a part of the answer can be found in Mark 12:41-44. Verse by verse, it reads:
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury…
Jesus sat opposite the people, watching.
It’s interesting to think: how would we live our lives if we noticed Jesus sitting directly opposite us, just watching? We always talking about Jesus watching us Big Brother style (i.e. “His eye is on the sparrow, so I know He watches me”). But what if He physically pulled up a chair and watched us. What would He notice about us? There is the obvious issue of Him noticing some of the crazy stuff we do. But is it the day-to-day activities that God really notices? I’m not so sure. If I had to venture a guess, I’d say it was our hearts He’s most concerned about.
Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins…
Do you think that all those rich cats noticed that Jesus was directly opposite of them? I’m sure they did. I bet they looked straight at Jesus and smiled as they left their offerings. At the very least, they probably watched Him through the corner of their eyes. I can see them digging deep into their pockets just to impress Jesus. But, can’t you see Jesus just smiling and nodding as these folks dropped their offerings into the box? Jesus probably wasn’t nearly as observant of their actions as they thought. He probably didn’t even say a word to them. He looked into their hearts and saw nothing impressive. He saw a void in their hearts that couldn’t be so easily filled by their deeds. I guess this goes to show that sometimes our hearts can speak louder than even our actions.
Now, what about the poor woman? Do you think that she looked at Jesus? I wouldn’t bet on it. I think that she was too ashamed to even look Him in the eye. Likewise, accustomed to being overlooked, I doubt she noticed Jesus watching her. Imagine the shame she must have felt watching all of those rich folks in front of her drop in huge amounts of money, and here she is with only two small coins. She probably tossed her money in the box without ever looking up.
Yet, she was the one who got God’s attention.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything– all she had to live on.
The woman gave from her poverty. She gave all that she had. That was all she needed to get Jesus’s attention.
Thinking about this story, ask yourself: what gets your attention? Sadly — and all too often — things that come from abundance capture our attention the most. Expensive things; pretty things; just, well…things. I think that’s why our society has so much of an obsession with celebrities and fame. That’s how preachers can pimp their congregations into paying for showy and fancy buildings. That’s why a person will use their last dime for cosmetic purposes instead of for practical utility. However, God isn’t impressed with merely things; with property, possessions, or power. Likewise, God isn’t impressed when we give from abundance. I mean, we can’t even get God’s attention with abundance. What makes you think we can impress Him with it? The earth is the Lord’s and fullness thereof, right…?
But the things that are given from our spiritual poverty – our weakness, our scarcity, our brokenness and our emptiness – are somehow the very things which get Jesus’ attention. Why is that? I suspect that it’s because our meagerness causes us to give God the only thing that we really have; our heart. I think that’s what God is most concerned about. He evaluates us by what’s in our hearts; not by what’s in our pockets or by the acts we have done.
For me to get God’s attention I think that have give from my poverty, my brokeness and my shame. I must come to the God of grace and give Him the only thing I truly possess; my heart.
…and see if He’ll take notice.