41 Sitting across from the temple treasury, He watched how the crowd dropped money into the treasury. Many rich people were putting in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and dropped in two tiny coins worth very little. 43 Summoning His disciples, He said to them, “I assure you: This poor widow has put in more than all those giving to the temple treasury. 44 For they all gave out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she possessed — all she had to live on.”
1 He looked up and saw the rich dropping their offerings into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow dropping in two tiny coins. 3 “I tell you the truth,” He said. “This poor widow has put in more than all of them. 4 For all these people have put in gifts out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”
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Summoning His disciples, He said to them, “I assure you: This poor widow has put in more than all those giving to the temple treasury. For they all gave out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she possessed—all she had to live on.”
My grandmother was a giver. In fact, I think it was her goal in life to break even, to owe nothing, and to have nothing when she passed away. Besides, it wasn’t like she could take anything with her!
Two months before she passed away, she had to go to a nursing home. The hardest part for her wasn’t leaving her home, as some might expect. It was knowing a significant portion of income would have to go to the nursing home and her own living expenses—and not the charities and causes she believed in.
This story is a picture of her.
In this passage, Jesus was sitting in between the Court of the Gentiles and the Court of the Women at the Gate Beautiful. There were 13 collecting boxes called “The Trumpets.” Each had a special purpose, but they were all for contributions for the daily sacrifices and expenses of the Temple.
Many came by with large contributions, but the widow gave two mites, worth only a fraction of a penny! Not much. Even the name of the coin itself is called a lepton, which literally means thin one. But Jesus calls her gift greater than the others because she gave all she had.
Real giving must be sacrificial. A gift only shows our love when we have to do without or work doubly hard in order to give it. Real generosity gives until it hurts.
Real giving has a certain recklessness to it. No one standing around would’ve judged the widow if she’d thrown in one of her coins and kept the other. After all, that still would have been giving half of what she had, which is still more than most of us give.
But isn’t that what we normally do? Give certain portions of our lives to God, while keeping other parts to ourselves?
Many like to point to Scripture and ask, “Isn’t tithing an Old Testament thing? Do I really have to give ten percent?”
Well, if you look to Jesus as the pattern of how to live your life, He gave absolutely everything, even to the point of laying down His life. You’re right—ten percent isn’t sufficient. It’s everything.
The great thing about this story? Jesus points to this widow, making her famous for her pattern of generosity, but it was a gift of so little monetary value.
We may feel like we have so little to give—monetarily or personally—but if we lay down all that we have, giving it all to Him, He can transform our little into something that far exceeds our wildest imaginations. After all, when I am weak, then I’m made strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).
The Gospel of Mark (The New Daily Study Bible) by William Barclay
The Gospel of Luke (The New Daily Study Bible) by William Barclay
- Have you laid down your all?
- What are you afraid of giving and why?
- What’s something, you may think is small, but you can give?