Today’s Scripture: Mark 12:41-44
41 Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. 42 Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.
43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. 44 For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”
I wonder if she knew she was being watched? She had to have known. I mean, the collection box is right there on the plaza – out where everyone can see everything. She had to have known. Maybe she even watched others herself. Maybe she snuck in and tried to blend in with the crowd and watched the box as others put in their offering. Maybe she was waiting for a moment when she thought no one would be watching her.
But Jesus was watching. And he saw what she did. But he watched with eyes of love – something she may have never experienced.
I wonder if she knew Jesus was talking about her. Did she ever learn that he had praised her for giving far more than the ones who made a big show of how much they deposited into the box? Had anyone ever praised her like that?
I wonder what went through her mind as she got ready to go to the temple that morning. Did she agonize over how much to bring? Did she weigh the option of spending her money on something else? Her husband used to take care of the finances. But now it was her job. There was no one telling her what to do.
So, she made a decision. She would give two coins. It wasn’t a lot. But to her it was everything. Little did she know we would be talking about her gift 2,000 years later.
Why did Mark include this little story in his Gospel? Maybe it was to poke fun at rich people who only give out of surpluses with no pain. Or maybe it was to highlight the love and compassion that Jesus has for the poor. Or maybe it was to remind us of the unnamed woman who gave everything she had to live on – a woman whom Jesus lifted up as an example to his disciples – and as an example to us.
I wish we knew her name. But at least we have her example.
God you have given us so much. Thank you for our homes, our food, out savings accounts and retirement. Thank you for taking care of us. God thank you for the example that is the widow women with two coins. As we make decisions in our lives about finances, bring her to our minds. May her actions all those thousands of years ago inform our actions today.