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“Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.’”—Mark 12:41–44 (NKJV)
If you were to have been in the temple complex, in the center of Jerusalem, during the week preceding the Passover celebration, you would have witnessed quite a scene! In accordance with Deuteronomy 16, the Passover was one of three annual celebrations where Jewish men and women would journey to Jerusalem from around the world. The city would swell way beyond its normal capacity, causing the kind of commotion usually seen in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
It would be especially crowded around the temple treasury, because this was one of the spots that a pious pilgrim would be sure to visit. For them, it was an annual opportunity to donate to the spiritual heart of Jewish society and identity, the temple. Many, especially the wealthy, would anticipate this moment where they could demonstrate their dedication to God’s house (and perhaps even get their generosity noticed by others).
Someone sitting opposite the treasury did notice this, but wasn’t particularly impressed. But eventually, there was something, or rather someone, that did impress Him—a widow! Of all the hustle and bustle and clanging of coins, she stood out to Jesus! A widow (and a poor widow at that) shuffled through the mass of humanity and unassumingly added a measly two mites (a fraction of a penny) to the haul. It’s fair to say that this poor woman wasn’t even an afterthought amidst the outpouring of wealth around her. All eyes were on the mounds of money, nobody was taking notice of her or her two mites . . . except Jesus. He took careful note of her and used this moment to teach His disciples, as well as us, a lesson for the ages.
God always measures what’s given in terms of attitude, not amount. Two mites sacrificially offered in faith mean more to Him than a mountain of money offered with mixed motives. No amount of wealth moves God, because He ultimately owns everything to begin with (Psalm 24:1)! But God is moved by a heart that’s free and open to give all it has, regardless of how much or little, trusting that He’s all the security they need. That is the truest definition of wealth, making this widow the wealthiest of all in God’s eyes.
Christ wants His followers to understand that the attitude with which we give is always primary, not the amount we give. He wants our attitude in giving to be based on trust in who He is. Because knowing who God is brings a joyful trust in all we do, especially when it comes to our giving.
Pause: How does God’s measurement of giving differ from the way the world measures giving?
Practice: Take inventory of your attitude towards giving. What areas of your attitude so you think God can adjust?
Pray: Lord, help me to learn from this widow. Refine my heart and adjust my attitude to give in fuller faith in You. Amen.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.