And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44)
Jesus Notices The Small Things
The Temple was a place of continual activity with thousands of worshipers mingling through the various places of the House of God to exact sacrifices, pay tributes or to debate issues of the Law. Jesus was weary from the pressures of those who sought to trap Him in His words and He had reclined above the Court of the Women gaining a full view of the worshipers who remained as the time of sacrifice had passed. Many remained were deep in personal devotion or offering private sacrifices. Along the colonnades of the court were thirteen trumpet shaped boxes bearing inscriptions declaring their purpose as objects of the temple contributions. Jesus was in a place He could observe the actions of the worshipers who came to offer their gifts. Among the vast crowd of people that came that day to offer their gifts, a solitary figure stood out in the eyes of the Lord as He watched a tired and impoverished woman make her way to the collection boxes. She was not a person of any importance as her clothing would bear testimony. Clinched within her hand was her whole substance of living that amounted to the least of what was required but it was all she had. Edersheim remarks, “We can see her coming alone, as if ashamed to mingle with the crowd of rich givers; ashamed to have her offering seen; ashamed, perhaps, to bring it; a ‘widow’ in the garb of a desolate mourner; her condition, appearance and bearing that of a ‘pauper.’”(The Life and Times of Jesus The Messiah) She had so little to give. Others would come and with great fare offer from their abundance large amounts that took the notice of all. Sweeping into the court the rich and powerful let all men see the bounty of their prideful giving. Alone in a place by herself a widow quietly came to one of the boxes and let the two coins fall softly into the box with no noise and no notice from those who hurried around her. She silently turns away and returns to her home thanking God for all her blessings and praising the Lord with a heart gilded with the gold of heaven.
No one took notice of the widow who gave her whole livelihood except the Man who peered into the souls of men that day and saw a beautiful life that loved serving His Father. Jesus picked this widow from the crowd to create an eternal story that is still spoken of two thousand years later. Nothing is said of the others who gathered that day and who for the most part gave more than the lonely widow. Jesus saw the heart of a servant in the woman. He had grown weary of the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees who prided themselves with religious zeal. The widow was a common person who loved God with all her heart and trusted in the providence of the Lord to care for her needs. She gave all because she knew how much her Lord had given her. Her worship that day was in complete trust in His care. Love was at the center of her giving as God had given her His love so many times before. Life was hard for the widow and giving up the small amount was a large sacrifice for her but she gave. Worship was pure and holy for her. It was not a matter of pride for there was nothing to brag about. Learning the love of God had taught her how much she needed the grace of the Lord to be upon her. What were a few coins compared to what God had given her? Her joy came in the journey she made that day to deposit two coins in the coffers of God to show her love for Him.
Jesus notices the small things. It would not have required divine intervention to know of this woman. Watching a crowd He could easily tell the slow walk of a woman who had little to offer. Her pace was not hurried or her presence noticed by others. She carefully glided through the worshipers with a graceful step seeking to place her small offering into one of the treasuries. The Son of God took notice of her. He saw what she did. His eyes filled with the other participants who boldly cast the abundance of their gifts into the boxes but she caught the eye of God. Men look for ostentation acts of giving but God seeks the humble hearts of poverty. The lesson from Jesus is not the amount of the offering but the offering of the richness of her heart. Jesus looks for the small things in life that define our character. He notices the small deeds of kindness, words of encouragement, thoughts of prayers and those things that come from a heart that trusts in the love of God. Riches come from the throne of God to those who seek His favor and glory. As we approach the temple of God in our daily worship let our hearts be like the widow immortalized by the observation of Jesus who said of her heart, she “has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury” because she gave of her all.