Lord, truly You see things not as we see them.
Read MARK 12:41–44
The Widow’s Offering
41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Jesus paid it all, / all to Him I owe; / sin had left a crimson stain, / He washed it white as snow” (Elvina M Hall, 1865,“I hear the Savior say”).
A few Sundays ago at the worship service held on the estate where I live, I happened to notice a man who put two copper coins into the offering. Last week, a woman from our estate invited some people from church to her flat for breakfast. Having only a few chairs, our host stood up throughout the meal. Before we began to eat our breakfast, one lady who is just learning to pray aloud offered up a faltering prayer of thanks. Two copper coins, a shortage of chairs and a faltering prayer. I wonder, though, how pleasant did these offerings of worship and hospitality appear to Jesus?
The story recounting the widow’s offering teaches us much about God’s economics. To be clear, the story does not teach us to dishonor the generous gifts made by those who have plenty (41). Rather, it should encourage us to honor the seemingly small offerings made by those who have comparatively little; to teach us that gifts esteemed low in value may actually have come at high cost (42–44). Moreover, the story reminds us that what matters most to God is the heart attitude behind our offerings to Him (Isa 29:13; 2 Cor 9:7).
Uncomfortable reading though it may be, the widow’s offering challenges us to recognize that there is a calling in the Christian life to sacrificial giving and sacrificial living (Matt 26:6–13; 19:27–30), for such was the offering that Christ made for us upon the cross. In stark contrast to the way that the establishment cheated widows (40), is it not part of the beauty of Christ to honor the common folk by citing a meager offering from a poor widow to teach us rich and challenging truths?
What has challenged you most from this passage of Scripture? Turn it into a prayer. Ask God to help you “excel in this grace of giving” (2 Cor 8:7).
Lord, we especially honor widows because they are part of the most vulnerable among us.
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