And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” (Luke 21:1-4)
She Gave All
The Law of Moses gave protection for widows not to be treated unjustly and to be cared for through tithes. It was very difficult to be a widow in Biblical times. Protected under the Law of Moses, widows still faced a difficult and uncertain future. Without a source of income, the daily lives of widows were a meager existence. Jesus was in the Temple observing how the people came in to offer their tithes into the treasury. Men of wealth deposited their tithes, and the common man put in much less. It was the widow that caught the eye of the Lord when He saw her putting her two mites in the treasury. The sound of her coins was barely heard. No one took notice of the poor woman in torn clothes hobbling along quietly, putting in her small gift.
Nearly a millennia before, when the prophet Samuel was seeking to anoint the next king of Israel, God reminded the prophet that He does not look at the outside of a man but rather what is in the heart. As Jesus stood watching those who brought their gifts to His Father, He saw an offering of poverty as a gift of immeasurable treasure in the poor widow. The rich people dropped their gifts in the collection box, but it was a poor widow that became the object lesson of the day. Out of her poverty, she put in all the livelihood that she had.
The poor widow’s story is not about the two mites or the coins of the rich. It was about the heart of a woman who was so fully devoted to the Lord she gave more than anyone. Wealth is not determined by the size of the bank account but by the abundance of the heart that is seeking the favor of God. Nothing is known about the woman after she returns home. Her stomach may not have been full, but her heart was overflowing. God is not interested in the size of the gift. The rich gave much out of their abundance, and that was easy. There was much remaining after they gave their gift. The poor widow was poor before she gave and remained poor after giving. What made her story different is she was rich before she gave and remained rich after she gave. Her treasure was in heaven.
Men measure success outwardly. God seeks loyalty from the heart. The widow’s story does not suggest all men must divest themselves of all of their wealth to prove faithfulness. Giving two mites did not make her righteous no more than a rich man giving twenty gold coins made him righteous. God looks on the heart when it comes to worship. He seeks what is in the spirit of a man to know his worth. Everyone is measured by the willingness to devote themselves to the Lord fully. What Jesus saw in the woman was complete, unfailing, total devotion. That is what made her gift so amazing. The Lord is seeking such to worship Him.
Honor for God is found in the humble hearts of fully devoted people, putting God first in every part of their lives. Nothing comes before their service to the Lord. They are not seasonal warriors in the cause of Christ but dedicated soldiers for the kingdom of God. The poor widow trusted God would care for her, and He did. Trust comes from knowing the Lord will care for His own. This releases the worries of men to trust in themselves or their own power. All things can be accomplished through the power of God when we allow the power of God to work in our lives. Have a trust like the widow. It’s not the amount. She had the heart to serve her Lord. That is what Jesus saw. What does He see in you?