By John Henson
Monica McNutt, a recently-graduated guard playing for the Lady Hoyas of Georgetown University, wrote an article in The Washington Post about attitude.
She wrote, “Your attitude will determine so much, from who is willing to work with and for you, to how far you will allow yourself to go.” She continued by saying, “Are you doing everything in your power to get your team back to winning? Are you all in and dedicated, or just along for the ride?
Certainly, her remarks were from the perspective of a college athlete, but aren’t her remarks equally valid when applied to spirituality?
In Luke 21:1-4, Jesus discusses attitudes. Just before this passage, Jesus had been critical of the scribes and Pharisees and their poor attitudes. “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive the greater condemnation” (Luke 10:46ff. NKJV).
The scribes’ attitude was the wrong one. The right attitude is found in Luke 21:1-4 — the attitude of the widow.
Jesus sat watching people throw their money into the trumpets in the Court of the Women at the Temple in Jerusalem. There were thirteen collecting boxes the trumpets emptied into, each assigned to a specific cause. The rich gave, Jesus said, from their “abundance.” One can almost see the huge bags of money being carried by the rich, out of which a small sum was cast into the trumpet.
Then, Jesus saw a poor widow who gave two coins, the smallest denomination in local currency called a “mite” or a “lepta.” Because God the Son knew all things, he knew this was all the money she had. Jesus said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had” (Luke 21:3ff.).
Her attitude was the real gift. It was a gift that flowed from a loving heart. She could not live without giving because she loved God!
Her attitude was in the gift because her gift was her sacrifice. This is why her gift mattered more to Jesus. The rich gave from their abundance. They could easily replace any amount they gave. It meant nothing to them. The gift the widow gave was her living!
In McNutt’s last sentence of her Washington Post article, she said, “Are you doing everything in your power to get your team back to winning? Are you all in and dedicated, or are you just along for the ride?” These are the questions the widow’s giving asks us.
One commentator of this passage in Luke 21 wrote, “Only a completely insensitive person could read the story of the widow and her two lepta without searching and humiliating self-examination.”
Brother Gus Nichols, in one of his sermons on attitude, asked the question, “If everyone had the same attitude as mine, what would their contribution be? What would their attendance be? What would their attitude toward Jesus be?”
In the hymn, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” Isaac Watts wrote, “See from his head, his hands, his feet; sorrow and love flow mingled down. Did ere such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?”
Jesus loved us so much he gave himself to die on the cross for our sins. But, are we in the game, as Ms. McNutt wrote? Are we dedicated to the Lord? What is our attitude when we compare ourselves to the widow? If everyone in the church had our attitude, what kind of attitude would they have?