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. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44
What was the motivation for the widow to give her last two mites? I would guess thankfulness, and reverence for God.
And I think her motivation could also could be desperation. The widow had no where else to turn but God. When we reach the end of our rope, we are willing to throw in the towel and give it all.
You know, it would have been so easy for this woman to justify not giving. She had bills to pay. She needed to eat. Surely God would want her to take care of those things first.
But Jesus commends her for throwing her last two pennies in the till.
What was Jesus feeling as he watched her give? He had just come to Jerusalem, riding on a donkey and being hailed by the crowd as a king. But it was a challenging time for him. He went in the temple and saw it was full of “thieves,” so he drove them out. He had religious leaders on every side trying to combat him with verbal tricks and arguments. He remarked on teachers of the law who just cared about looking good. He knew he was going to die, and told a parable about the son who came to collect the landowner’s money, and was killed by the tenants.
And then he saw this widow who was giving her all. Maybe he related to her. He was also giving his all. He was also at the end of his rope. He saw how evil the land was, how everyone was serving God in the wrong way. No one seemed to get it.
Yet he knew he had come to Jerusalem to die for these people. Jesus was throwing all his eggs in the basket of God, just as the widow was.
But Jesus was taking it even one step further. He was throwing the eggs of ALL of us in the basket of God. He was giving his life, everything he had. with the belief that it was the only hope for the people he saw, and the people yet to come.
And so he was willing to walk through the dark valley, right into death.
Getting back to the widow, some of us would ask, “How could God want her to give her last two coins? Why would he require that of her?”
We could also ask, “Why would God require the Israelites to face trials in the desert where they didn’t have water or food?” Or, “Why would Abraham be asked to sacrifice his only son?”
God wants to see if we will still give to him when things are tough, when we’re down to our last two mites.
The purpose of these troubles is to test your faith as fire tests how genuine gold is. I Peter 1:7 GWT
So when things go wrong and craziness is raging all around us, will we still give, or will we hunker down, circle the wagons, and hoard the little we have left to take care of ourselves?
Because I’ll admit it. I’m an ostrich. I want to hide and lick my wounds, not stick my neck out and give more. I get paralyzed by my fears.
I am so thankful that Jesus showed us the way through the valley, that Jesus still went forward, still gave, at the hardest time.
And now, when it’s scary, when the way is dark before us, we still go forward, putting ALL that we have into God’s hands, with thanksgiving, with reverence, and with faith that He will bring us through.