“Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins”.
Lk 21:1, 2 NIV
Today the gap between rich and poor is a very serious problem with no apparent solution in sight. The problem is not only the gap – it is that the gap gets ever wider. The problem is very complex – especially since some poor people manage to become rich, and some of the rich lose their wealth and become poor.
At the entrance to the temple in Jerusalem there were several boxes for donations. They all had cone-shaped metal cylinders on top that looked like trumpets. The wide end was on top, the narrow end at the bottom. The idea was that coins thrown in would chinkle noisily down into the box at the bottom. It enabled the generous people to draw attention to their gifts. The more money that was put in, the louder the noise created. Paper money had not yet been invented. Jesus pointed out that the poor woman was richer in her generosity because she could ill afford the tiny gift she gave, whilst some of the rich only gave smaller gifts in relation to their wealth.
Managing money is one of the biggest challenges Christians have to meet in this materialistic and inflation-ravaged world. Jesus emphasized the importance of stewardship. The money we get and have is really God’s and we are stewards of what he commits to our care. We need to be wise and well-informed to understand how money works. We also need to be responsible in planning and providing for ourselves, our families and our church. Whether rich or poor we need also to be generous – like the widow.
Lord, help me always to be generous.