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? Sure, we tend to liken Jesus to Big Brother (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 and blatantly sinfully things we do. But is it the day-to-day activities that God really notices? Does He notice us doing laundry? Or mowing the law? Or preparing dinner? I’m not so sure. If I had to venture a guess, I’d say it’s not very likely that He examines our every movement. Instead, I think His attention is fixed on what matters to Him the most – our hearts.

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 pretty sure they did. I bet they looked straight at Jesus and grinned they left their offerings. They wanted Jesus to see their outwardly expressions of stewardship. I can see them digging deep into their pockets pulling out as much money as they could just to impress Him. I can also see Jesus just smiling and nodding as these folks dropped their offerings into the box. He probably wasn’t nearly as observant of their actions as they thought. He probably didn’t even say a single word to them. I imagined all He did was look into their hearts, finding nothing impressive. He saw a void in their hearts that couldn’t be so easily filled by their deeds. If “actions speak louder than words”, the heart speaks even louder.

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. I imagine the amount of shame and embarrassment she must have felt in the presence of all those rich folks, while only having the equivalent of two pennies to offer for herself. Perhaps she was silently in fear, as she gave away the last money she had on Earth. Either way, she probably tossed her money in the box without ever looking up.

Yet, she was the one who got Jesus’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. 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 by the things for which we hold premiums. He could care less about our property, possessions, or power. If “The earth is the Lord’s and fullness thereof…”, what makes you think we can impress God with our stuff?

Oppositely, it’s the things that are given from our spiritual poverty – our weakness, our scarcity, our brokenness and our emptiness – that get God’s 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 us to get God’s attention I think we must give from our poverty, our brokeness and our shame. We must come to the God of grace and give Him the only thing we truly possess; our hearts.

…and see if He’ll take notice.

– ACL