“Jesus sat near the Temple money box and watched the people put in their money. Many rich people gave large sums of money.42 Then a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which were only worth a few cents.
43 Calling his followers to him, Jesus said, ”I tell you the truth, this poor widow gave more than all those rich people. 44 They gave only what they did not need. This woman is very poor, but she gave all she had; she gave all she had to live on.”
Jesus has a whole different way of counting. He sat and waited and watched. Lots and lots of money was being dropped into the box. The rich actually hired ‘criers’ to proceed them. They shouted out to prepare the crowds in the Temple for their generous offerings. Great effort was made to choreograph their procession when the Temple would be crowded.
I’d like to think the best of these rich ‘fat cats.’ I want to somehow believe that they didn’t have ulterior motives. But, knowing the heart of man, I strongly suspect these ‘givers’ intended to get as much ‘PR mileage’ as they could.
When we focus on the widow we find we pretty much dismiss her offering. To put it in perspective, a laborer would work all day for a denarius. This widow gave 1/164th of that. Certainly without the fanfare that these pharisees and scribes created.
Jesus is sitting, and watching very near to the offering box. He is impressed with this widow and her scanty contribution. But He looks at each heart, of each giver. He puts a value on each one. The size of the gift is not at all the issue here. It is the dimension of the sacrifice. She was dropping in everything she had. All of it, without hesitation or negotiation.
As we are His disciples, this particular lesson must be learned. And, indeed, it is learnable. If it seems too hard to emulate we need to deal with hard issues. Like fear, doubt and pride. And there is nothing quite like ‘sacrificial giving” to penetrate our stony hearts.