“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. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling His disciples to Him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasure than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44
What a story! This woman gave everything she had to God; the last two cents to her name. When I read about her, my heart aches. My mind’s eye imagines an elderly, frail lady obediently giving away her last means of supporting herself. But this is a picture I’ve conjured up from years of seeing pictures in Sunday School or children’s bibles. Really, we don’t know anything about this woman! Why was she poor? What happened to her husband? Did she have children to support? I find myself wanting to know her story! How has she come to this place of complete trust and surrender to God? What happens to her after she offers up her last bit of wealth? The scriptures don’t tell us much however, we must trust that God is giving us what we need to learn from this extraordinary woman.
So, what do we know? We know that Jesus sat and intentionally watched the crowd as they came with their offerings. We know that the woman gave humbly without drawing attention to herself. We know that Jesus took the time to teach His disciples a lesson based on her example. We know that Jesus states that she has given more with her two cents than all of the others put together!
What can we learn?
- God notices. Jesus sat and watched the people. He wasn’t doing this to simply pass the time. He was interested in how people gave of something so valuable to them. When this woman came and gave, it was in contrast to the prideful giving of many others. Jesus noticed.
- It’s not just about the money. Money is near and dear to all of us and very revealing of our hearts. Have you ever heard the expression “Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.” (James W. Frick)? God isn’t as concerned with the amount of money we bring as He is concerned with the sentiment of our hearts towards Him when we give. God doesn’t need our money. If the amount was more important than the attitude behind it, Jesus would have praised those that gave much. But He didn’t because He knew their hearts were full of pride and desire for recognition. He was moved by the trusting heart of this widow.
- Jesus wants us to take note. He brought His disciples over and took the opportunity to bring the value of this event to their attention. As small as the offering may have appeared, it was big enough to touch the heart of Jesus and He used her as an example for all eternity in His Word.
- Jesus didn’t publicly praise her. We aren’t given any indication that this woman had any idea what was being said about her. Jesus didn’t speak with her or revere her publicly. We can trust, based on the promises in God’s Word, that she was eventually rewarded greatly, but for the time being, she received no accolades (Matthew 6:3-4, Luke 6:38). Sometimes we feel that our sacrifices go unnoticed but we must remember that God sees and rewards in His perfect timing and way. He is good and can be trusted to meet our needs.
The woman had two coins and gave them both away – all she had. Logic would say to give away one coin and keep the other for your own needs. This amazing servant put her desire to give generously, to please God with her offering above all else. She didn’t do it for attention, although she certainly has received it over the last two thousand years. She could never have predicted the impact her little offering would have on the future of the Gospel or the Kingdom. She gave what she had to God out of love and trust. He took care of the rest.
This doesn’t apply to money alone, friends. Yes, we should be a sacrificial giver with our finances and want to give generously, trusting God to meet our physical needs. But we are also to give all of ourselves – our lives, our hearts, our wills and plans. We give these to God – our two coins, instead of holding one back for ourselves – and He blesses it! He multiplies it! He uses it to dramatically impact others in sharing the Good News of Jesus. We don’t need to have much to offer, but we need to offer all we have.
Let’s learn to live in that place of sacrifice and giving of ourselves to God – our hopes and plans, our finances, our lives. Each day is a new opportunity to say, “I’m here Lord. All of me. What can I do for you today?”. Let’s position ourselves like this each day and watch Him do wonders. He will surely take our few cents and use them mightily for His Kingdom!
Love and blessings,