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Making Change

Giving Judging Pride

Contributed By: Allen Povenmire | Date Posted: 2016-06-21

Scripture: Mark 12:43

Author: Allen Povenmire


Helping take up an offering on the last night of VBS, I finished with the back row and headed up the middle aisle of the church, offering plate in hand. As I neared the front of the sanctuary, I heard a woman’s voice behind me. I turned and saw a small, frail looking woman pursuing me up the aisle, with money in her hand. Still nothing that unusual, I’m thinking. Somehow, we just missed her. 

I didn’t recognize the woman; she wasn’t a regular in our church. She was middle-aged, maybe in her 50's, and wasn’t particularly well dressed. Since we were standing at the front of the sanctuary, with nothing else going on, no doubt the majority of the audience witnessed what occurred next.  

The woman approached me with her bill in hand and I held out the plate to accommodate her. I couldn’t help but notice her place a twenty dollar bill on top of the pile of bills already in the plate. I started to turn toward the altar, and she quietly, but firmly said, "Please wait." I looked at her as she proceeded to rifle through the bills in the plate, looking for change for the twenty she’d placed in the plate. 

It was sort of a surreal moment, someone making change in the offering plate. I heard a few muffled whispers throughout the sanctuary. I awkwardly waited as she finished her transaction and turned quickly to return to her seat. I put the plate in its appointed place and walked away, still somewhat confounded by what I’d witnessed.


After the moment had passed further, this lasting thought came to my mind: the woman didn’t have to give anything at all. She had the appearance of one who didn’t have much to give, but she gave anyway. She could have stayed seated, saving herself the pointed attention of coming up the aisle. Maybe that twenty dollars represented a great amount to her and her giving a portion of it was really a big deal. It might have been a bigger sacrifice than any of us who initially scoffed at her actions realized. 

In the Gospel of Mark we read:

"Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” (Mark 12:41-44, NKJV)

Every time I read that passage, I think of that woman walking up the aisle with her offering. Her humility left a lasting impression on me. Honestly, I’m afraid I would have been too prideful to carry out her act. 

Judging By The Wrong Standards

Judging Legalism Priorities

Contributed By: Geoff Follas | Date Posted: 2016-02-22

Scripture: Proverbs 4:23 ; Luke 6:45

Author: Geoff Follas


I was talking to a Pastor friend the other day and he said to me, “Would you allow a Christian who smokes to lead a Bible study group?” I answered, “Yes.” He was surprised. Then I said, "I would rather have a Christian who smokes leading a Bible study than one who is proud, critical, divisive or resentful."


The religious leaders in Jesus' day judged others by external standards, by non-biblical standards. We do the same when we allow our cultural ideas to dictate our standard of righteousness. God is concerned about the attitudes of our hearts and character, and so should we be.

"Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life" (Proverbs 4:23, NLT).

"A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of" (Luke 6:45).

Casting Stones

Purity Marriage Judging

Source: "'Embracing Purity': Why a Maryland Bride Signed a Virginity Certificate" By Andrea Swalec, NBC, WASHINGTON, D.C.

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-12-10

Scripture: John 8:7

Author: Mitchell Dillon


According to NBC, WASHINGTON, D.C.:

A Maryland couple had their dream wedding this month. The bride wore Vera Wang, the groom wore Tom Ford, they welcomed more than 2,500 guests -- and the bride presented her father with a "certificate of purity."

Boutique owner Brelyn Bowman (née Freeman) surprised her father at the reception of her wedding to gospel singer Tim Bowman Jr. with a document signed by a doctor stating she had kept her promise to remain abstinent before marriage. Their decision received a lot of attention on social media -- a lot of it unkind.

Brelyn Bowman, 22, said she told her father, Pastor Michael A. Freeman, when she was 13 that she would refrain from having sex. At her wedding, she said she wanted to show her dad and their loved ones that she had been faithful to their values.

"It's one thing to give your word. It's another to give proof," she said. "My whole message is embracing purity. It's all about how you honor yourself and your God."

Shortly after the wedding the couple posted wedding photos. One photo shows Brelyn slow-dancing with her father with the caption, "I was able to present a certificate of purity to him signed by my doctor that my hymen was still intact."

When the Bowmans' plane touched down after their honeymoon, they turned their phones back on and were stunned by a flood of hundreds of messages, most of them negative.

"At that moment, we had a brief meeting," Tim Bowman said. "We made a decision that we were happy that people were even talking about it."


Here are a few of the comments from the end of the article linked above:

"Yep, let's just reinforce this ridiculous notion that a woman only has value if she's a virgin."

"Charming. Did she further 'honor' her father by undergoing female circumcision as well?"

"This sounds like coming from the 1800s"

" ... the MD certificate is just creepy."

There was a time not that long ago when those who strove to live a moral life were considered good examples.  Today, any such effort is sure to make you the butt end of jokes. The world's sense of what is moral and what serves as a good example has, indeed, been turned upside down.

The new rule seems to be that those who operate without moral standards provide the best example for the rest of us. Not only that, they use their elevated place in society to mock and criticize those who embrace traditional values. But Jesus said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone,” not, “Let him who rejects the idea of morality altogether cast the first stone" (John 8:7).

We are all sinners, no matter how hard we strive to be a good example. Two thousand years ago, long before the tables were turned, it was the religious elite who felt free to judge. But Jesus made it clear that sinners who cast stones at sinners are hypocrites, no matter who they are. With that in mind, I registered the following comment, which was the only positive comment, I might add, to the above mentioned article:

I do believe it strengthens a union when two people can look into each other's eyes and say, "Before I knew who you were, I was faithful to you."

Jesus said,"Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."

I've got no stones to cast, either at those who attempt to do what they think is right, or at those who don't. These two young people did something that was meaningful to them and honoring of their God. Shouldn't we all be glad for them, whether we agree with their approach or not? I don't understand the hate. If this young man were a drug dealer and his bride a prostitute, I doubt they’d be the object of so much scorn.  And I hope I'd still have no stones to cast.

    Mitchell Dillon

Clean Your Windows

Judging Self-examination Hypocrisy

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-06-30

Scripture: Matthew 7:5

Author: Unknown

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Lessons From the Josh Duggar Fallout

Redemption Restoration Judging

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-05-27

Scripture: Ephesians 1:7

Author: Dr. Michael Brown / Illustration Exchange

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Skeletons In Lawn Chairs

Gossip Discernment Judging

Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2015-05-16

Scripture: Proverbs 18:13

Author: Neal Pollard

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Do Your Sins Have Mugshots

Sin Judging Accountability

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-04-27

Scripture: Matthew 7:1

Author: Jason F. Wright

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A Child's Openness at Christmas

Christmas Grace Judging

Contributed By: Paul Barreca | Date Posted: 2014-12-24

Scripture: Luke 2:8

Author: Unknown

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He Ate The King's Food Without Gratitude

Thankfulness Judging God's Provision

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-11-22

Scripture: Psalms 107:1

Author: Jamie Shell & Brent Nidiffer

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Can't Hold A Candle

Prejudice Pride Judging

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-10-03

Scripture: Job 34:19 ; Romans 2:11

Author: Illustration Exchange

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