21 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins. 3 And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; 4 for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.”
We should all be willing to give to the poor, no matter how much we give, no matter how much we have. It’s not the amount that matters, it’s our heart.
In this story that we’re revisiting from Mark, a widow puts all that she has into a collection box for charity. Basically, she has two pennies, each coin representing 1/100 of a denarius. It is literally all that she has.
In contrast, there are people in fine clothes about her, making large donations. Some of them probably make a show of the large amounts of money they donate. Others simply drop them in and leave quietly. The widow is one of the quiet ones. She drops her coins in unnoticed by everyone in the crowd except Jesus who calls His disciples to consider her as the best example.
It’s not that the other people who donated were wrong or bad, it’s that she was the better example of a heart fully in tune with God. She was the poor. She could have been there in the Temple asking the priests or the worshippers to give to her. But in her heart, she likely looked around at herself and looked at others and realized that there were others who were worse off than her. We don’t know her circumstances, but even if they were sufficient to meet her basic human needs, they were meager.
But she had compassion for others regardless. She gave out of her poverty to help those who were worse off. She had a heart of mercy towards them. So she gave all that she had quietly, unnoticed except by the Lord.
He saw her. He saw the beauty of her heart. He calls His disciples to notice her and to realize that in God’s eyes she gave more than ALL the rest.
I tend to make a lot of excuses in my own giving. Money’s tight this month (and it usually is), the car needs work (as it does sometimes), the kids need new clothes (they grow like weeds), there’s something that came up. It’s all excuses really. I could find the money to give, but my heart isn’t always in it. I’m focused on my problems, my emergencies. I don’t think that somewhere while I sleep in a warm bed, there’s a family that’s sleeping in a car or on the street. My focus is on me. So when I give, I give when times are good. When I’ve got a bit of extra coin in the bank. Me. Me. Me.
The lesson here isn’t about the amount we give, it’s about our hearts. Do we have hearts that remember the poor even in our own times of poverty? Do we think and ache for those who are worse off than us and do all that we can to help them? Is our heart one of compassion and mercy for others in need?
Lord, help us to remember those who are worse off than ourselves, to feel their pain, to reach out to them, and to make sacrifices so that they’re needs may be met. Forgive us for our selfishness. Fill our hearts with compassion and mercy and give us the strength to make right choices.