Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.’ —Mark 12:43
The story of the widow’s offering is familiar to many of us. The widow places two coins—the equivalent of pennies—into the treasury. Jesus singles her out for commendation even though others contributed far more.
We sometimes gloss over familiar stories, assuming we get the point: “She was poor. She gave what little she had. We should all give generously. Got it!” By speed reading, though, we risk missing what God wants us to see.
In his recorded ministry, Jesus talks an awful lot about money. More than a quarter of his parables cover finances, and he devotes more air time to money than love and prayer combined. Rarely does Jesus praise people for their use of funds, which makes the widow particularly worthy of our attention.
And in the case of the widow, Jesus paid attention. How close do you think he was sitting to the offering plate to be able to see the coins she was depositing? To our sensibilities, it might seem uncomfortably close—unmannerly if not downright rude. But what if Jesus hovered because he hoped to be able to offer praise? Because he desperately wanted everyone to experience freedom and joy and blessing by leaning on God rather than money as their source of security?
Another passage that suffers from familiarity is Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” We assume that people give to causes that pull at their heartstrings, which is true. But Jesus challenges us to give to God’s kingdom and then allow our hearts to follow. The widow put her full treasure and trust in God. Will we?
Prayer: Jesus, I want to be a worthy steward. Help me trust you with my treasure.