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The Widow's Offering (Rabel)

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This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Winter semester 1976 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Lectures given on May 28, 1976

Mark 12:41-44, pp. 277-280 of transcript.

12:41And he sat down over against the treasury, and beheld how the multitude cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. 12:42And there came a poor widow, and she cast in two mites, which make a farthing. 12:43And he called unto him his disciples, and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, This poor widow cast in more than all they that are casting into the treasury: 12:44for they all did cast in of their superfluity; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

We read a very important event on Page 172 in “Harmonies of the Gospels,” Mark 12:41-44.

Now, Jesus' comment on the widow's gift of two mites to the temple treasury is very well known, but it is often used for the wrong reasons. It is often used as a justification or a pat on the back to oneself for tithing, you see. In Silent Unity, for instance, we get thousands of letters every year saying "Enclosed is my widow’s mite.” It is almost as though there were being carbon copies passed among the Silent Unity correspondents, and it is always a very tiny amount, as though there were a need to apologize for it in one breath and to call attention to one's virtue with the other breath, you see, and that kind of defeats the purpose of what Jesus probably had in mind here.

You have to read His comment realizing that it is a translation, of course, but read it very carefully and see that there is a metaphysical meaning behind these words. The treasury of the temple could symbolize something in you, not a church, not a Unity Center, not Silent Unity, but something in our own being that we tithe to, or that we cast in to. It could symbolize that place within us where we have our inner realization of the true meaning and value of God and Truth and things spiritual; that treasure within us, that place in us where we decide on our evaluation, where we make our priorities, so to speak, where we feel the gratitude toward Spirit and meet the rewards of spiritual effort; the starting place within, where the real treasure is.

Now, we know that many persons give a great deal to this treasury within them. It could even be your place of motivation toward things spiritual, and many persons give a great deal of this in the form of their time and their interest and their energy. Then they externalize this, you see, this giving to the treasury of Spirit. We do not do everything internally. Almost everything we do internally, we also find a way to externalize; so what would be the externalized form of this inner activity? Actually supporting a religious work or tithing or helping out or contributing in any way to an activity which, to you, constitutes spirituality; and, of course, tithing is the best known of these forms. So many persons also give much money to support the outer activities which help serve the purposes of Spirit, and this is good; but there is more to what we call tithing or casting our goods into the temple treasury than just this; that is, there are some other things that we should tithe to Spirit, which Jesus designates as even being greater than the financial support and volunteer-type of things; and the widow, He uses as a symbol, for this other thing that should be tithed to Spirit.

It is kind of startling when you realize the words He uses pertaining to the widow. Notice He says that the generous givers give of their superfluity. You see, there is nothing wrong with this; in fact, it is quite good. It is a very wise practice to not let your superfluity be like a dammed-up possession of yours. If your superfluity is allowed to over-fluity into other people's benefits, then you are doing something quite lovely. You are keeping the law of giving and receiving activated in your life, and that is very good; but there is another kind of giving, which is sometimes overlooked and which Jesus calls our attention to here, if we have the eyes to see it: "but she of her want did cast in all that she had even all her living."

Now here are two things that Jesus said this woman is casting into the temple treasury, which is, in a sense, externalized by her mites. It is not the two mites He is praising but what that externalized monetary form, to Him, was symbolizing in that widow's attitude or consciousness; so the two mites of the widow are symbols for our wants, even all that we have. We do not use the word wants any more in Unity. We would call them needs, all of you wants, all of your needs. In other words, your complete and total dependency on Spirit as Source is tithing, and don't ever think it isn't, folks.

To give all of your needs or wants or desires, longings of your heart, to that place in yourself where you are realizing that Spirit is the one Source, that is honoring God as highly as anything can honor Him. Now, the second one, even all her living; in more than just our super-fluity or abundance or our ten-per-cent, but our actual living itself is what we are tithing. Today this is called consecration and dedication, and that is what you are doing. You have made a total commitment to Spirit. You have cast all of your living into the treasury of your temple, you see; and so the two things that we never want to leave out of our tithing to Spirit is all of our wants. Some people do not like the word wants, because it is almost a little bit too near to the word lack, and a lot of people in Unity are definitely afraid of the work lack. I am not, but most are, so okay, so wants, needs, desires, the longings of your soul are to be cast into the temple as a part of your tithe.

We have a very beautiful affirmation that was used in a Daily Word lesson about six months ago, simply called "I Depend On God", one of the most powerful affirmations of tithing our wants, our needs, our desires to the one Source.

Q. Are you saying that our very dependency or our faith in God is a tithe?

A. Yes, since it is, in a sense, a matter of conscious, willing choice and constitutes a form of giving on our part. You see, this time it is not giving of our super-fluidity but giving our dependency, but it is still a giving, you see, in a very true sense; and it is an acceptable form of giving. God does not always want your virtues, friends; He does not have much need of that. In other words, "I am a very good-natured person, so I am constantly giving of my superfluity of good nature into the temple." Big deal; that is great. It is not hard work to do that, but suppose along with my good nature, I have some deficiencies, some lacks. There are some things I lack. Jesus used that word. He said one thing thou lackest.

He was not afraid of the word, and I am not either. It is very easy to give of my superfluity, and I do not use that word contemptuously. It really is. It overflows from you, in other words. I radiate good nature, but I also have some suppressed lacks, shortcomings, faults and weaknesses; and I have longings connected with this, because the soul knows what is being suppressed within it. So, instead of keeping it bottled up or suppressed in me, tithe it to God. Now, what will Spirit do with such a tithe? It will be transmuted, transformed. Jesus taught this in many different ways. This is only one rather esoteric way that He might be teaching it, but He also says, "Ask and ye shall receive."

Q. It seems like this is a very important part of tithing that we often leave out. So often it seems that tithing is a magical process or technique, which we get caught up in.

A. Yes. It is the subtlest level of tithing, and I think Jesus deliberately teaches it in this almost hidden way because, really, it is only for those who are ready to see the logic of it. You see, most people are still all wrapped up in the logic, and there is a logic and validity to the superfluity-kind of tithing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It is very good, but people who have mastered that may be ready, now, for this. Very often In Unity, especially teachers and ministers who have been deep in psychology and psychiatry and this sort of thing, will talk about facing up to your feelings, the things you are suppressing. Sometimes it is said at the wrong time and can wound the very people who are seeking help; "You must find out what it is you are suppressing and face up to the feelings, etc." Well, okay, but there are other ways of saying that to a person who is in that state. I don't have to hang up my degree in psychiatry every time a counselee is not doing everything I think he is supposed to.

It is a very good thing to see what you might be suppressing and face it, but that is not the solution there. That is just more psychoanalysis and that sort of thing. We want the spiritual reason, the spiritual logic to all these things. Suppose, then, I go with the psychological bit, and I let someone tell me what it is I am suppressing and then help me to face up to it. Then what? Here is where the teachings of Jesus follow through and bring the whole thing onto the spiritual level. You can actually tithe or sacrifice that thing.

In the Old Testament, it would probably be called making a sacrifice or burnt offering unto the Lord. The meaning of that is the same as modern day tithing, sacrificing. The only thing God wants you to sacrifice is that which constitutes your needs, lacks, shortcomings, etc. Tithe that to Spirit. Give it to Spirit, because it constitutes an act of faith, of commitment and dependency; and there is nothing that Spirit loves to react to more than that, faith in it and dependency on it. That is what Spirit is here for, really. The tithe is rewarded.

Now all of her living, of course, is much easier to understand, and it is good to be able to explain to people what we mean by tithing all of your living unto Spirit. It is not as drastic as it sounds. In other words, it is not immersing yourself in religiosity and spelling everything you do out in spiritual terminology, but it is just that you keep reminding yourself and keep affirming the Truth, that your life is committed to Spirit. You go about your business, talk the language of people. It doesn't always have to be Unity fundamental language, but in your own private, quiet-time, re-consecrate, re-dedicate, re-commit yourself to the fact that you have chosen to live your life from a spiritual basis, and that is tithing all your living.

You know, folks, one of the wisest things to tithe or to sacrifice to God is ten percent of your current useless, unnecessary suffering. You think it can't be done? It can. If we really want to, we can do this. We can pray and ask how we can tithe or sacrifice any percentage of our current useless, unnecessary suffering, and the windows of heaven will open, folks, and a reason will be revealed. It is just that magic. It really is magic.

Text of the original transcript at the last paragraph of p.277 through the first paragraph of p.280.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on 04-12-2014