Q. One of the most poignant and telling sections of your study is your reflections on the widow who gave two lepta into the temple treasury. Jesus offers her as an example of whole-hearted giving of self to God (‘she gave her whole life’). I liked the way you saw this as foreshadowing what Jesus was about to do. Somehow in Christian tradition, stories like this have been used to romanticize poverty, as if it was a means of becoming more spiritual or closer to God (a sort of health and wealth Gospel in reverse!). Do you think in our culture that what people do with their resources best reveals their values, what they think is most important? Do you think Jesus thought this about his own day and time as well?
A. Our values are demonstrated in what we do more than how we pray or what we think. We live our values. Jesus is clear on this assessment: “You will know them by their fruits.” That’s a Jewish way of thinking. It can, to continue the monetary metaphor, “cash out” today. After one asks, “Where do you go to church?” the next question might be, “What are the fruits your church is producing?”