The Widow’s Offering: When Less Is More – Mark 12:43-44

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 few cents.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, 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.”

Mark 12:41-44 NIV

Apparently giving your offering at the temple in Jerusalem was a spectator event. In this account Jesus had sat down to watch people put their money into the offering containers. And I suspect that this was not an uncommon occurrence. I can picture those who wanted to be noticed coming when the crowds were largest and making a show of putting in their offering.

In the midst of this circus a poor widow came to give an offering. She didn’t have much, just a couple of very small coins. But what she had, she gave. She did not do it for show. There was no way she was going to compete with the larger donors. Nor did she do it out of obligation. There was no requirement to give everything. She must have done it out of love for God; wanting to give him what little she had.

Probably the only one who noticed her giving was Jesus. There is no way to know if she even knew that Jesus had noticed her. But Jesus called his disciples together and gave her high praise for what she had done. While the monetary value of her offering was minimal, Jesus said that she gave more than anyone else had given. Because she gave her all, not just from her surplus.

How much we give, whether of our money, our time, or our talents, is not important. What matters is the generosity with which we give. The one who gives sacrificially of the little he has, has given more than the one who gives abundantly, but at little real cost to himself.

Man looks at the externals, but God looks at, and rewards, the heart.

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