Monday, December 09, 2013

The Widow's Might

Jesus watches rich and poor present offerings to God. The rich were very generous. Their incomes and offerings were large. Poor people gave, too, but their contributions were not noticed. Everyone brought an offering as was expected.

The giving was public. They were pouring money into containers called “trumpets.” The coins made a constant clanging noise as they were cast into the containers. The clanking was an immediate reward for the giver; more coins made it louder. The clanking served as both a celebration of generosity and a reminder of responsibility.

There was a community expectation of support for God's work. The public giving created an atmosphere of accountability. The people lined up in a stewardship parade waiting their turn to give their offering.

A poor widow drops two of the smallest coins; their faint click is drowned out by the heavy clanking of more substantial coins made by the rich. She seems unnoticed but Jesus is so impressed that he says her offerings are more important that those made by men of wealth and prestige.

Jesus was impressed because she denied herself. She had two mites to give and could have kept one for herself. If she had only one coin then the decision would have been simple but she had two coins and the choice was greater. She gave both.

She surrendered all and trusted God for the care of her life. She knew that if she was to be assured of God’s care, she had to give all. Jesus said, “...any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33)

Whether we are rich, poor or somewhere in between, Jesus looks at the size of our sacrifice more than the size of our gift.

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