Image is Everything?


We spend a lot of time in our daily lives focusing on our appearance. We exercise, eat right, seek to wear the right jeans or drive the right car, and even have surgery to alter our appearance. While some of these things are good for us, that is generally not the driving force for our actions. We are often more motivated by how other people perceive us and by our desire for people to think well of us.  

  • In what areas are you tempted to be conscious of people’s responses to you rather than God’s desire for your life? 


35 And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”’

37 David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.

38 And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces 39 and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 40 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. What are some of the actions of the scribes that seem more focused on appearance than on a heart for God or for the people they were serving?
  2. Verse 40 states that many of the scribes’ actions were for pretense. What are some of the activities in your life that might be for pretense—those things that might make you look good, wise, or important?
  3. While the offering of the widow was small in comparison to the gifts of others, Jesus referred to it as “more” (vs. 43). What made her gift greater?
  4. What are the ways you may need to adjust your life and relationship with God to serve him with the right motives and a heart for him?


It is hard to live in a world of polished images, air-brushed models, powerful people, and important events. It feels hard sometimes not to play the game. Yet, we worship a God who honors a simple, poor widow who gave what she could to honor God. God looked at her heart and received her simple offering with great joy. How we live will come down to who we are trying to please. 

  • Pray that God would reveal the motivation of your heart as you go through the activities of the day.  
  • Confess where you are more concerned about the response of those around you than you are for God and his desire for your life.
  • Ask God to show you ways that you might be able to give of your time, talents, or treasure that would be truly sacrificial rather than from your abundance.