Lessons from the Widow with Two Mites
31 Days of Women from Scripture
Sacrifice Out of Poverty
Day Twenty-Three: Lessons from the Widow with Two Mites
Mark 12:41-43; Luke 21:1-4
“but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on” (Mk. 12:43).
Wow. Let that sink a little bit.
Out of her poverty.
This is a woman who did not have much at all.
Jesus saw this woman put two small copper coins into the Temple treasury after a line of rich people had put in large sums.
Yet, Jesus was not calling her poor in comparison to those people. It is a statement of fact. His knowledge of her circumstances reveals that not only did she not have very much to give – she gave ALL she had to live on.
Back in Lesson Ten, I mentioned that she showed her trust in God by giving what she did.
Let’s think about that for a minute.
Open your checkbook or your wallet.
If you were to give as she did, every penny you had to live on – how much would it be? For most of us, even those who are struggling, I’m willing to bet that it would be more than “one cent” (Mk. 12:42).
Right this minute, looking at that number, could you do what she did?
Feeling a little hesitant? I would also be willing to bet that most of us WANT to WANT to give all that we have. But there is that little something in the back of our head,
“but we must eat”,
“winter is coming, the electric bill must be paid”,
“the car payment is due, I can’t have them take my car”.
Where is our trust?
We are currently studying Israel’s wandering in the wilderness in the adult Bible study in our congregation. We are focusing on the book of Numbers. We are not very far in, but we spent the first few weeks laying the groundwork by looking at Exodus first.
What was made abundantly clear by doing this, is that God went to a great deal of effort to convince the Israelites that He was going to care for them.
God gets them out of Egypt – just as He promised He would.
He destroys the Egyptian army.
He leads them day and night – never leaving them.
They complain about being hungry. He provides food. The perfect amount of food for each person for one day. Then does it again the next day. On the sixth day, he provides them exactly enough food for each person for two days. Then nothing on the seventh day, because He wanted them to observe the Sabbath. On the first day of the week, His provision begins all over again (Ex. 16).
Israel complains about water and God provides good water. And so goes the pattern.
Are we any different? As a child of God, we should be. At least He wants us to be.
“For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content” (1 Tim. 6:7-8).
God knows it is hard for us to trust.
Jesus gave the cure for our worries when He said,
“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Mt. 6:30-32).
God KNOWS you need these things. He provided food and clothing to Adam and Eve in the beginning (Gen. 1:29-30; Gen. 3:21).
Jesus wasn’t finished though – what did He say to so that these needs would be met?
“But seek first the kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Mt. 6:33-34).
The woman who gave one cent to the treasury, she gave all that she had.
It wasn’t the tiny bit left over after she put aside money for her food. It was all of it.
The point wasn’t the amount though.
I am not proposing that all of us go out and give away every penny we have and expect things to be cared for! That’s another lesson, but we are supposed to work, be prepared, and do what we can to provide for others (2 Thess. 3:7-13; 1 Tim. 5:4, 16).
The point Jesus was making to the disciples was the woman’s heart compared to that of the rich men who gave “of their surplus”.
The rich gave to the Temple. They followed the law. But it didn’t cost them anything to do it.
The woman made a sacrifice.
The money we earn is ours to do with as we please (Acts 5:4).
If we want to be people who are pleasing to God, we will obey the command to give (1 Cor. 16:1-2).
What God wants though, is for us to give cheerfully.
He wants us to give on purpose.
“Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7).
God does not expect us to give what we do not have either (2 Cor. 8:12).
This woman did what she could. Just like Mary the sister of Lazarus did for Jesus when she anointed His feet (Mk. 14:3-8; Mt. 26:6-13).
Going back to our own wallets and bank accounts. How much do we trust God?
When that balance is low do we fret and worry? Or do we pray asking Him to keep His promise because we know He is faithful (1 Cor. 10:13). The temptation to fear and doubt can be taken away by seeking first the kingdom of God!
Do we trust Him enough to even give a part of what we have?
Are we holding back from giving to Him out of fear?
What about our other “talents”? It’s not just money with which we can trust the Lord. Are we holding back on giving our time and our energy?
We may not have much. Health issues, children to care for, marriages to guard, older family members to care for – there is a lot to be done. But do we have ten minutes? In our poverty of time and energy are we still giving back to Him?
Or are we always asking for more?
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Rom. 12:1-2.
Every one of us in poverty. We are here on this Earth waiting for a better country (Heb. 11:16). This life is nothing compared to an eternity with God the Father.
God doesn’t need our worship or offerings (Acts 17:24-25).
He wants our sacrifice because it shows we have chosen Him over the mammon (Acts 17:27; Mt. 6:24).
God wants our life because His Son gave His life that we might live (Gal. 2:20).
Can you see your wallet full of pennies worthy of giving to the Lord just like the widow did?
Learn the lesson of the widow who gave all she had. Have a heart that is willing to sacrifice out of poverty and gain the riches of eternity!
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