doing good in an evil world

Here is my latest entry for Our Daily Journey, perhaps inspired by recent events. Let me know if you see something that needs changed. Special thanks to Brenda DeVries whose conversation pointed me in this direction.

Read Mark 12:35-44

“I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions” (v. 43).

The world seems stacked against the poor and powerless. Those with money support politicians who pass laws that apply to everyone but them. Then they stack the courts with judges who defend their self-serving notion of justice. What is “the little guy” to do? We vote in new leaders, only to watch them spin a “lifetime of public service” into lucrative careers that feather their own nest. We realize something larger is at work, that “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world” (Ephesians 6:12). How can we do good in this evil world?

Jesus preached against the corruption that existed in His world. He stood in the Temple and pointed to the powerful who were cheating others. “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and receive respectful greetings…. Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public” (v. 38-40).

About then one of those widows—the very person who may have been cheated by the religious leaders—walked up to the Temple collection box and dropped in her two last coins. It wasn’t much but it was all she had left after the leaders had taken her house.

Jesus felt the conflicting emotions of anger and awe. Anger at the corrupt leaders who manipulated widows to give everything they had, and awe at the widow who loved God enough to do it. He told his disciples, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others” (v. 43).

How can we do good in this evil world? Like Jesus, we can speak out against corruption. And like the widow, we can continue to do well from within the corruption. We cannot always prevent the system from abusing us, but we can control our response.

Photo by Emiliano Horcada. Via Flickr. Used by permission.

2 Comments

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  1. Elizabeth Ann Davidhizar August 16, 2016 — 11:31 am

    A conversation I had with Brenda changed the way I see this verse too!

  2. Think of how this relates to what is going in on Dubai right now:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-37114401

    My paraphrase: “If you want to give money, you must give it to a charity sponsored by our Islamic government. If you even mention that other options exist, we will punish you harshly.”

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