The Treasury Test
Mark 12:41-44
And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.…

The lesson taught by this narrative is — man's treatment of God's treasury the true touchstone of piety.

I. GOD HAS A TREASURY IN HIS CHURCH. God has conferred on man various kinds of material possessions and property for use and enjoyment. Among these, money has become the portable representative and circulating medium of all. Far above these possessions is the privilege of sacred worship. This would be an urgent necessity and a lofty privilege even if man were holy. How much more now that he is a sinner! As all material arrangements are costful, so also is worship. If man could not meet this cost, God would. As man can, Why should he not? Is he not honoured in being allowed to do it? Does not this test his character?

II. MEN CONTRIBUTE TO GOD'S TREASURY IN VARIOUS MEASURES AND FROM VARIOUS MOTIVES. The Divine rule has ever been according to one's power. This principle is definitely stated in an instance for universal guidance (Leviticus 5:7, 11): "As God hath prospered." "According to that a man hath." In the temple scene before us, we behold the devotion of every coin, from the golden mineh, of three guineas value, to the mite of brass, three quarters of a farthing. Motives also differ, often as much as coins. Some give from necessity. Some give from a sense of honesty; if they did not give, debt and dishonour must ensue. Some give with pride and self-righteousness even before God. Some give from habit acquired from youth. Some give with holy love and joy, as a blessed privilege and rich delight: thus did the widow; so also have many done till now.

III. THE SAVIOUR OBSERVES HOW MEN TREAT HIS TREASURY AND BY THIS HE TESTS THEIR LOVE TO HIMSELF. As worship is man's highest act, its gifts should be rich and substantial. Jesus beheld men at the treasury. He still directs His eye thither; not that He needs man's gifts; but deeds and gifts test man's love; also they elevate and refresh man's heart. Men test others' love by deeds and gifts. Jesus challenges us to test the love of God thus.

IV. JESUS ESTIMATES GIFTS CHIEFLY BY WHAT IS RETAINED. This principle alone accounts for the higher worth of the widow's gift.

1. This estimate of gifts according to what is retained agrees with reason. Man's gauge of the moral value of a deed is the power of the doer. The child is not expected to put forth the strength of a man. Less force is looked for from the feeble than the strong man. A small gift from a narrow income is esteemed as much as a large gift from a vast income.

2. This treasury test accords with general life. This principle is acknowledged in all departments of life. Men readily meet the cost of their chosen pursuits and pleasures, in the measure of their means. True patriots willingly pay national charges, according to their ability, Faithful husbands provide for their wives, in the measure of their power. Loving parents nourish their children, as their resources allow. Should not Christians thus provide for the service and glory of Christ? Notice God's rebuke of Israel's neglect of this principle (Isaiah 43:22-24; Jeremiah 7:18).

3. This treasury test accords with universal Scripture demands. God tested man's confidence and honesty by the forbidden fruit. We know the sad issues. Jesus tests our obedience, love, and devotion by a treasury. Besides the large dedication of their property to the national religious service, Israel were commanded to open a treasury to the Lord, to build a tabernacle (Exodus 35; Exodus 36); David to build a temple (1 Chronicles 29); Joash to meet the expenses of worship (2 Kings 12:1, 9). This woman would give her all to His worship. Who doubts her love? But did she act prudently? She acted according to the rule. She acted for the hour and the occasion. She would not make herself an exception to the rule. She gave her all to God. She left the future to Him. Does any one think she starved by this? Behold what a grandeur the smallest service acquires, when it is done for God! Observe what magnificent interest and enduring renown accrue from the devotion of a creature's all to God. Jesus did not disparage the other gifts; He simply indicated their true relative value, and attached to the widow's His highest commendation.Application: —

1. God has a treasury for human hearts, His own heart. He would have your heart centre in love, safety, and joy in His own heart. He wants you there, as a creature who can love, serve, and delight in Him. He claims and demands you for His. Christ has died to redeem and win you back to Him, Will you give yourself to Him now just as you are, that He may make you all that He can delight in, that you may find Him all that your soul can desire?

2. Christ gathers the funds of His kingdom in His Church.

3. All worshippers are required to give as a duty.

4. To give cheerfully is to elevate a duty into a privilege.

5. Jesus thus tests His friends and foes, the obedient and the disobedient.

6. Jesus waits at the treasury for your gift, to receive it at your hands, to bless it, and to teach you how to use it. If Christ is Lord of your mind, and heart, and life, let Him be also of your silver and gold.

(John Ross.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.

WEB: Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and saw how the multitude cast money into the treasury. Many who were rich cast in much.

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