The Widow's Gift

24th Sunday of Pentecost
Scripture: St. Mark 12:41-44

Thoughout his ministy, Jesus calls to our attention those on the margin of society, those who have gone unnoticed:

  • the poor
  • the blind
  • the lame
  • the beggar
  • the leper
  • the military personnel
  • the widows
These are some of the people on the margin of our society today, those who are excluded and looked down upon or simply ignored.

We enter the scriptures as Jesus is sitting and watching the crowd as the temple offering is being gathered. Between the court of the Gentiles and the court of women was the gate called Beautiful. Jesus had gone there to sit quietly and restful after the arguments and the tension at the court of the Gentiles. The court of the women was nearby.

There were 13 collection boxes called the trumpets because of their shape.  Each was for a special gift to buy corn, wine, or anything needed to buy for the sacrifice. Many people threw in large quantities of coins for the offering. There came a poor widow who put in all she had: 2 copper coins valued at about 1/16 of a cent.

Jesus, seeing her gift said, “She gave more than all the rest had put into the coffer.”

Here is a lesson in giving: real giving must be sacrificial. It is never the amount of the gift, but the sacrifice one offers in giving the gift. There are few people who will offer a real sacrifice to the Lord in supporting his work. Giving that is real has a certain recklessness in it. The widow might have kept one of her coins.  It was not much but something she probably needed badly. She gave everything she had.

There is a great symbolic truth here. It is our personal tragedy that we don’t trust the Lord to be part of our activity. It is a strange and lovely thing that the widow in the New Testament is who Jesus hands down to history as a pattern of sacrificial generosity.

When we put ourselves totally at Jesus’ disposal, we can not imagine what might transpire in our lives and in his church. We have not matured from giving only what is left of our resources because we use them to maintain ourselves and our comfortable lifestyles. We are happy to offer the Lord what is left over of our resources, including time, talent, and income.

In looking in depth at my own life and actions I am appalled of how little I actually give in sacrificial giving.

When I looked at my personal property, I found 5-6 TVs, more clothes in my closets and dressers than I can wear in a month, cupboards, and freezers full and bulging with food.

While Judy and I do support our Lord with our tithes of all resources that come into our house, that is not sacrificial giving. That is only what we are obligated to give. Sacrificial giving is when we do without a multitude of our desires and wishes and support the work of the Lord with those resources.

That is the first step in sacrificial giving.  While it may be a small step it is a step in the right direction, I don’t see much sacrificial giving in my life.

I am challenging myself and you to continue giving our obligations to the Lord, our 10%, and then begin to go a second and third mile in sacrificial giving for the lords work in our lives, our community and our world, and becoming a joyful and faithful servant of our Lord Jesus Christ.

May we all pray about our sacrificial giving unto our Lord.

Let us pray.