”As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21.1-4
The things to which Jesus draws attention is significant. In this passage, Jesus notices the wealth people putting their gifts into the treasury at the temple. Now he could have looked anywhere else. He could have taken notice of the sacrifices being made, or the diversity of Jews from all over the world in the temple courts, or even those profiting off the offerings. But Jesus takes notice of two groups of people which in turn draws our attention as well.
The first group are the rich. They are putting their great gifts into the temple treasury. Now Jesus doesn’t tell us how rich these people are, are they upper class or are they the wealthy elite? Or are they common people like us who appear “rich” next to a very poor person? Regardless, we can assume these are people with means enough to not worry about the temple treasury or tax. They put in what they owe, or what they desire to give, and they are comfortable in doing so.
The other person Jesus observes is representative of the truly poor. It’s a widow who has very little money. No husband to take care of her, and perhaps no strong family support. She puts in two very small copper coins. Even today, comparing these to a couple of pennies, this is next to nothing. But for the widow, it was all the she had. She gave her offering to God willingly. Jesus says, “all these people gave their gifts out of their wealth, but she (the widow) out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” “This poor widow has put in more than all the others,” Jesus says.
Most of us have been blessed way beyond measure. We have houses to live in, cars to drive, clothing to wear, food to eat. But does our generosity to others reflect our abundance or our lack? Do we give in such significant amounts that it hurts? Do we give not out of our abundance but out of our deficit?
God doesn’t only want your money and resources, he wants your heart. He wants you to give out of your abundance in such a way that you feel it. He wants you to reflect his love so that others are blessed by your giving, your love and your compassion.
This is the season of thanksgiving and of generosity. Many are spiritual bankrupt but materially wealthy. Others are dirt poor but richly blessed. Let’s find ourselves thankful for our blessings but wiling to share with others in both word and deed about the goodness of our God. Let us take the Gospel to the ends of the earth so that the world might know that Jesus is Lord. By his grace and for his glory.
”O Lord God, you are good. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for your kindness and your grace. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your compassion. Help me to give to others the gift of the Gospel and may it reside in their hearts by grace. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen