Luke 20:45 In the hearing of all the people he said to the disciples, 46 “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets. 47 They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” 1 He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; 2 he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3 He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; 4 for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”
Luke provides us an interesting comparison between the scribes (teachers of the law) and a widow. The scribes appear to be righteous, but only on the surface. V.47 tells us they took advantage of widows, making them sell a house to pay a debt rather than finding other arrangements. For the one owed money by a widow, the selling of the house gave them immediate payment but left the widow destitute. God repeatedly emphasized in scripture the need for the powerful to care for vulnerable people like widows, orphans, aliens, and so forth. So the “righteous” scribes are not what they appear to be.
The widow, unlike the scribe, does not appear to be anything special. Yet when she gives all she has at the temple, she reveals a deep sense of trust and faith in God as provider. Her faith far exceeds that of the wealthy who give greater monetary amounts. Like the scribes, she is not what she appears to be either – but in a good way.
I think there are days when I’m a bit like the scribe. People make assumptions that I’m more of a godly person than I am because I’m a pastor. But I don’t mind because it’s important for all Christians, as much as we’re able, to be on the inside who we appear to be on the outside. That’s called “integrity” – to be integrated inside-out. Again, none of us does this perfectly, but it’s an important aspiration I think.
Lord give us grace to be thus. Amen.