Day 3: The Abundant Heart
Today’s reading: Matthew 21:23-25:46, Mark 11:27-13:37, Luke 20:1-21:38
A Shifting Paradigm
It is now Tuesday. The events of Good Friday loom in the distance, yet Jesus is doing what He always does: He teaches and He heals. In fact, some of the most potent and impactful words Jesus ever spoke were uttered today.
Just like Monday, Jesus goes to the temple to shepherd the people. And because of the uproar created when He turned over the tables, many eyes are now upon Him.
The Pharisees, teachers of the law, and elders gather around, looking to trap Jesus in His words because they’re trying to condemn Him in front of the people. They’re trying to diminish Him.
Jesus was well-prepared.
His mastery of the conversation through stories, called parables, revealed truth that was both profound and convicting.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” —Mark 12:30- 31
“And when you pray, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you.” —Mark 11:25
“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” —Matthew 23:12
These words carried a weight that pierced the exterior religious façade of those within earshot and those who are ready to hear them today.
These were words that ushered in a new way of thinking for those in religious positions—this is the Kingdom.
Jesus is shifting the paradigm.
Have you fully shifted your paradigm towards Jesus? Not simply believing in Him, but following Him and surrendering to His word? Do you love your neighbor as yourself? Are you openly forgiving? Is humility your greatest quality?
Take a moment to make an honest assessment about your habits and what they reveal about the true hunger of your heart.
The Abundant Heart
As they sat in the temple, Jesus watched the crowds of people place their money in the temple treasury. He noted that those in fine clothes, who appeared to be wealthy, placed large amounts in the trumpet-shaped receptacles.
Then, a poor widow approached. She was ragged from the struggles that life had thrown her way. Like many widows of the day, she was discarded—alone.
As Jesus watched, she stretched out her weathered hand and turned over two small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. It was all she had. I close my eyes and envision her smiling as she walks away.
Upon this, Jesus motioned for His disciples to come near.
“I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the other. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” —Mark 12:43-44
Too often, we look at outward appearance as a sign of righteousness, but Jesus was teaching us something much different.
It’s the heart that counts.
It’s easy to give from a place of monetary abundance, but Jesus treasures the gifts given from an abundant heart.
This widow symbolized everything Jesus was trying to tell the ultra-religious and all who would follow Him.
When we give to obey rules, it keeps us captive. If we give with an agenda, that isn’t giving at all. When we give with our name attached, it steals honor from the Father.
Jesus is reminding those who would listen that an impoverished heart has an agenda. An abundant heart is truly free and overflows with unencumbered generosity.
You see, Jesus is pointing to the cross.
He’s telling His disciples that the abundance of the Father is getting ready to be poured out for the salvation of all.
1. Religious culture seems to be more concerned with outward appearance and piety. Jesus’s culture is more concerned with the heart.
How abundant is your heart today?
Can you think of two examples of generosity from this past week that exemplify an abundant heart?
Can you think of an example where you’ve withheld generosity because you were afraid?
2. Fear is the greatest adversary that the enemy has. And fear will always limit the purposes of God. Today, mirror the widow and give to someone from an abundant heart as God leads.
Write about that experience in your journal and feel free to share.
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