Seeing Things Differently

Reversal is a common theme in the teachings of Jesus.  The poor are blessed?  The persecuted are blessed?  How silly is that?

And today we have another reversal in our gospel passage (Mark 12:38-44).  The widow who puts in two little coins that might, optimistically, add up to a penny, is the one who put in more than everyone else.  Again, from the human point of view, this is rather silly.  Even the most math challenged amongst us can figure out that all those rich people were putting in much more money than did the widow.  But God sees things differently.

I prefer a different label for this, not “reversal” but “seeing things differently.”  God simply has a different way of looking at everything involved.  The scribes could count too, and they knew they were important, and that the widow mattered very little.

This difference in the way God sees things reverberates through all the lectionary passages today.  In Ruth, we see the despised Moabite woman, who could not become a member of the congregation even 10 generations later (Deuteronomy 23:3), becoming the ancester of King David, only four generations down the road.  In Psalm 127 we see the possibility of having a house that looks great, has solid engineering, and is located in a prestigious neighborhood, but if it wasn’t built by God, it is vain.

Finally in Hebrews we see the eternal nature of the heavenly sanctuary as opposed to all earthly ones, even divinely ordained sanctuaries.  You could say, in a way, that those earthly sanctuaries must be built by God and incorporate just a bit of the divine in them or they too would be vain, just like the house in Psalm 127.

What exactly does a God-built house look like?  What makes the difference?  Can you tell by looking?  Is there a way to measure it?

I don’t think so.  The real way to measure this success is to allow God to show you that heavenly perspective.  You can’t get all of it, but you can get a little bit.  Ask for that vision, and I believe you will receive it.

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