She Gave More
21 January 2017
Reading: Exodus 1-2; Psalm 88; Luke 21
1 While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. 2 Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. 3 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. 4 For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” (Luke 21:1-4 NLT)
The Temple was a big, expensive operation. The priests and Temple servants were paid out of the tithes people brought, but the operating costs of the Temple itself were huge. There was the cost of water and wood for sacrifices, the cost of hauling animal skins and carcasses out to the Hinnom valley below the temple mount, the cost of cleaning, the cost of lamps and oil and incense. It’s fortunate that wealthy Israelite businessmen respected the Temple, supported what it represented, and contributed large sums of money for its operation and upkeep.
When Jesus saw a poor widow drop in two small copper coins, the price of a small loaf of bread—not even enough for a full meal—he remarked that her offering was the largest gift he had seen all day!
God’s accounting system is different from ours. God doesn’t measure the size of the gift by how much you give, but by how much you have left. The value of a gift isn’t really measured by its purchasing power, but by the sincerity of the heart that gives it.
Jesus didn’t say that it would have been better for the poor widow to keep her gift for herself: “After all, she needs it more than Temple, Inc. needs it!” Jesus said that she had given the greatest gift of all the worshipers—she had given everything she had.
Perhaps God doesn’t measure true generosity by how much you give, but rather by how much you have left!
Father, Thanks for the reminder about Kingdom of God economics and how you see and value generosity. Help me to give generously of what I have and not worry about what I don’t have. And help me not to watch what others give and make comparisons. That’s Jesus’ job, not mine! Amen.