“A poor widow came along and dropped in two little copper coins, worth about a penny”.
Mk 12:42 GNB
Jesus noticed the widow’s gift just as he had observed the large gifts of the rich. It is possible – likely even – that not all the rich people threw in large amounts. But after giving they were still rich. Rich people tend to think about money and are usually careful about it. Some are even obsessed about it. Some make themselves miserable about it – it comes to dominate their lives. The incident of the widow’s gift makes a beautiful story. She probably just crept along unnoticed – but Jesus saw her, and what she put in the collecting box. She might even have felt ashamed that she had so little to give, but Jesus was delighted.
In Mark’s gospel the focus is often on poor, weak, sick and despised people. Most of them are helpless – like the paralysed man who was let down through the roof. But they are all precious to Jesus and his compassion for them is an expression of God’s love and care for them. Here Jesus draws attention to what we might call “God’s arithmetic” where less is more because the measure of sacrifice is so much greater. The arithmetic of love looks not at the cold financial statistics but at the love involved. The woman’s gift was almost worthless next to the “large amounts” Jesus had seen going in, but in God’s eyes, she gave more than all of them. The principle is that for Christian disciples we should give what we can – not what we can’t.
Know that giving is an important part of discipleship to Jesus. It means we must be disciplined and generous out of love for him.
Lord, help me to be fully committed to you.