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.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
Most of us know this story. Therefore, we’re quick to glance over it and miss some important points. I thought I knew it so well. However, I may have missed something important.
I’ve generally focused on the poor widow, but what if we also focus on Jesus? First, we learn that Jesus took a seat across from the temple treasury and began to observe the people. Second, have you ever wondered how Jesus was able to distinguish who was wealthy and who was poor?
It’s now apparent to me that Jesus and I don’t always see with the same eyes. I would’ve drawn my conclusions based on their outward appearance, how well they were received or perceived by others, and the noise their gifts made as they rattled around the treasury receptacle.
Jesus’ eyes had to have been focused on their heart. It’s the only way He could’ve discerned these things.
I’m certain everyone knew exactly how much was required as an offering or tithe. And I’m fairly certain the wealthy that Jesus describes here were glad they could afford the tithe. But along comes the “poor widow” and messes it all up. She must not have been good at math.
Even more, she must have been so focused, so dependent on God for her provision, that she failed to see she should be embarrassed by her “poor” appearance. I mean, have you found it to be true that in our prosperity our friends know us, but in our poverty we know our friends?
As a matter of fact, what Jesus observed was so important He couldn’t contain it. He made a point to call His disciples to Himself to teach them what He’d just observed.
For me, the lesson isn’t to give God a correct gift and then rely on my own understanding to work out the rest of the details for my life. The lesson is to take on the heart of the “poor widow,” who modeled “poor in spirit” and surrendered all she had so she could be totally dependent on God for everything. If it was important that His disciples learn this, then it is equally important that I, likewise a disciple, learn this lesson.
For me, the question is: “When people look at you – do they see your possessions or the One who wants to possess you?”
Here is the bottom line:
- Ask Jesus, who am I in this story – the wealthy or the “poor widow”?
- Ask yourself who you want to be.
- Then put your treasure where you want your heart to be. Your heart will follow what you treasure.
"Father, I know You see my heart. May it be pure for You and may I find my dependence in You alone for all things. Amen."