What is left trumps how much is given.
Mark 12: 41-44 “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few pence. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.’
Jesus moved from exposing the flamboyant megalomaniac teachers of the law to a poor widow. What a contrast!
“They like to walk around in flowing robes, greeted with respect, have the best seats, the places of honour, devouring widow’s houses, praying long prayers to impress. They will come to nothing.”
But here comes the widow …
- Everyone knew she was a widow as she would be wearing her mourning clothes all her life as was the custom.
- Everyone knew she would be struggling. Her self-esteem now at an all-time low, her status even lower. Look how Lamentations 1:1 uses the widow status to speak of the plight of God’s people, “How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.”
- She would not be permitted to wear any jewellery whatsoever. Her life was now darkened by anything bright, loud or lovely.
There were those who liked to demonstratively throw in their offering. But when you only have 2 coins you don’t throw, you put them in, trying not to make a sound, lest people see.
There were those who after giving still had their wealth. But the widow had nothing left.
We need to stop seeing what everyone sees, to stop seeing the red carpet treatment, the loud displays and headlines of how good, great and awesome we are, we need to focus on what is not seen. Wisdom gives us that insight. We must not miss the widow’s offering, she teaches us far more than anyone.
It isn’t what people see but what they don’t see that matters. We can miss the truly most important and valuable if we look at only what is before us.
What is left reveals what has just really happened.
There was nothing left for the widow. She went away with nothing and went home to nothing. What she had given far outweighed what the others had given. She gave her all.
The lesson is this: If you are giving everything do it quietly. If you are giving only a part then that is okay but don’t draw attention to yourself as if it is something amazing.