When Jesus looked up, he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” (Luke 21:1-4)
It’s easy to sum up this passage and move on. It certainly is not about where the decimal point is placed. But in the recognition that it is about quality rather than quantity lies a powerful lesson.
I know that you and I agree on the fact that the Lord knows all things and that includes everything about us. In Provers 15 we read that “The eyes of the Lord are in every place.” Nothing is too little to escape His observation. No act is too trifling to be noted down in the book of His remembrance. The same hand that formed the sun, moon, and stars, is the same hand that formed the tongue of the gnat and the wing of the fly with perfect wisdom.
Our two givers in today’s Gospel passage are represented in light of their heart’s relationship to the Lord. The heart of the rich man is small and miserly, turned from the light of Christ toward the rusty glow of Mammon and enamored with the treasures he’s stored on earth. On the other hand, the heart of the widow is a queen of heaven, as it were, holding fast to her Lord and gazing with hope and confidence into his face.
God knows what we hold back and why. He also knows how much we sacrifice and the attitude which has prompted that sacrifice. All around us are people who are living for the Lord but who would seldom receive human recognition. Jesus, however, notices. He knows people’s hearts as they give and serve. Not one kindness we do in the name of Jesus and for the glory of the Kingdom will be forgotten. Not one sacrifice for the Savior will go unnoticed. He knows the truth behind our gifts and is blessed when they come from a generous, joyous, and sacrificial heart.
And there are those who use their religious practice as a means of drawing attention to themselves. In itself, this does not negate the value of the act itself, but it diminishes the merit that one derives from it. On the other hand, there are those, like this poor widow, for whom public acts of piety are a sincere expression of their deep faith and trust in God.
Our faith must be lived deeply, so deeply that it permeates every ounce of our life. Whenever we are living for Him there is no thought of how much of us it takes. There is no thought of what others might think of us. Nor is there any thought of what it might gain us in His eyes. We give because we believe. We give because our trust and faith in Him says that is the only way. We give because we truly want to try to contribute toward the building of His kingdom. We give because we are profoundly grateful for His presence in our lives.
We give because no matter what we do for Him is valued. Why? Because Christ looks at what a person is and not what a person has, Psalm 40:17 says it so well: “I am poor and needy; but the Lord thinks upon me.”
How blessed are we to be in His gaze! How blessed are we to live in His love!
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, your love knows no bounds and you give without measure. All that I have comes from you. May I give freely and generously in gratitude for all that you have given to me. Take my life and all that I possess – my gifts, talents, time and resources – and use them as you see fit for your glory.”
These words teach us that Christ looks at something more than the mere amount of a person’s gifts in measuring their liberality. He looks at the proportion which their gifts bear to their property. He looks at the degree of self-denial which their giving entails upon them. He would have us know that some people appear to give much to religious purposes who in God’s sight give very little, and that some appear to give very little who in God’s sight give very much.