The Widow’s Offering – Tia McNelly
Scripture: Mark 12:41-44
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
Jesus was not impressed with those who were giving out of their abundance in the temple that day. There was no dependence on God for their gifts; no sacrifice was made in order to contribute. Jesus identified with the widow’s sacrificial gift because His gift of salvation for all through His death on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice. In this moment, Jesus sought to point out that if we are to follow Him, we must give out of our lack. In order to do so we must first recognize our own poverty.
One of my greatest pleasures in life is hearing travelers reflect on their experiences and observations during devotional time in Kilgoris, Kenya. The most common discovery for first-timers is that “the people here have so little, yet they are so full of joy” and that “their faith is so much stronger here”. James 2:5 confirms that this is actually God’s design. He chose those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith. Through discussing this, the usual conclusion is that if the materially poor are rich in faith, conversely, the materially rich are often poor in faith.
It was a simple act of obedience for the widow to give all she had. She was well practiced in depending on God to provide for her every need. Her experiences with God’s faithfulness grew her faith and allowed her to lay down everything in obedience to His will for her. If our physical needs are met and we lack nothing materially, it can be difficult to determine how to give with the same heart as the widow. This is a true first world problem. Our material wealth can stunt our Spiritual growth in that we don’t see the need to depend on God. As we fend for ourselves, we are not aware of our own poverty.
Throughout the Bible, being poor means to depend on God. Whether physical or Spiritual, this dependence is born of our recognition of the fact that we lack the resources to secure our own future and even our present wellbeing. Sometimes the very thing we need is faith to believe that He is our greatest resource.
Most of the time it’s easy for us to give out of our abundance, but how can we give out of our poverty? First we must identify our lack. Ask God to reveal your own poverty. Perhaps you are poor in health or friendship or self-control. How can you give out of your lack? Maybe your simple act of obedience is making that dreaded medical appointment and depending on God for strength to sort out your health issues. You may need to pay someone a visit to resolve tension and depend on Jesus for the grace to forgive or be forgiven. Maybe your sacrificial offering is one of sleep and time and your act of obedience it to set an alarm so that you can spend time reading the Bible each morning.
Trust the Holy Spirit to guide you and provide for you as you put everything in the Spiritual offering basket, all for his glory.
Thank you for leaving your glory behind to become poor for my sake. Thank you for the ultimate sacrifice you made on my behalf. You alone are God and worthy to be praised.
Though I may be rich in possessions, I am poor in Spirit, Lord. Show me the ways in which I can give it all to you as I walk through this day. Help me identify my own lack and humbly depend on you for provision. Grow my faith as I depend on you and see that you are faithful.
Additional meditation: Listen to Kristian Stanfill’s version of Jesus Paid It All.