The Widow’s Offering

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 fraction of a penny.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury 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.”

This account is about giving in the right spirit.  The rich people threw in large amounts of what they had.  They could afford to be so liberal because they had much.  The widow, on the other hand, had very little.  She came in and put two very small coins in the temple treasury.  The way these people gave speaks volumes of the kind of people they are.  The rich people made a show when they gave their offering.  They threw in large amounts.  Their actions seem extravagant, a show of how great they are.  They were doing it to impress the other people there who were also giving their offering.  They probably felt bad that they couldn’t give as much as these rich people.

Jesus was not impressed with the rich people.  He knew that their hearts were not in what they were doing.  They were trying to make themselves look good.  Jesus commended the widow who gave all she had.  When we give our offerings we are in essence saying to God, “Lord, we want to give back to you what you have blessed us with.”  God is pleased when a person gives cheerfully.  He wants our giving to come from the heart—to be done out of love and appreciation for Him.  The rich people in their offering were giving God what they felt like.  It was like if they were doing Him a favor.  They were not doing it for Him or because they were grateful to Him for anything, they were doing it because it made them feel good—important.

The widow was poor but rich in her generosity.  She gave more than they did.  Jesus made a very good point.  The widow put more into the treasury than all the people there.  The rich gave out of their wealth but she out of her poverty.  She placed God above her circumstances.  She gave Him all that she had because she trusted that He would take care of her.  Her giving was a clear indication of how great her faith in God, her Provider was.  The rich held on to their money.  They probably could have given all but they prized their wealth more than God.  Their money was their God while the widow showed that the Source of all wealth was her God. 

This story is in the Bible for a very good reason—Jesus wanted to teach us what it means to truly give.  A lot of times people just place money in the offering plate but this widow put the coins in the basket.  She didn’t throw them in like the rich.  Jesus called His disciples to see this and He does the same with us today.  He calls us to Him to tell us about the widow.  We should follow this remarkable woman’s example and give God all that we have—not just our money but our time, talents, worship and anything else that shows that He is number One in our lives.

Mark 12:41-44


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