“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
This parable is one of my favorites, and I think it teaches us two great things:
- First is that it shows us something about the character and person of Jesus. He cares about our hearts and our motives behind doing things. An average person watching the collection of an offering would’ve thought more highly of the people who put in the large amount of money, thinking about the material gift that they gave. They would not have thought much about the poor widow or would have thought of her poorly for barely putting any money in the offering. But Jesus did not see that. He knew she gave more than anyone else. She gave all she had to the Lord.
- Second, this parable gives us an example for how to give generously and sacrificially. Giving to God, whether that’s time, money, or talents, should not be something we do out of obligation or to impress other people. It should be something we do out of love for the Lord and wanting to serve Him. Sometimes what we give might not seem like it’s worth much from a humanly perspective. Like the widow giving “a fraction of a penny” would really have no financial benefit from our perspective. But that doesn’t matter.
We are meant to give all we can give and in whatever way we can. One of my good friends in college had the idea that instead of giving money at church during the offering, a group of us would babysit church members’ families for free. This was a great way to serve these families and God by being giving in our time and helping families that needed it. Think of how you can give to God and do it wholeheartedly!
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