I want to point out two thoughts regarding the account of the Widow’s mite given in the synoptic Gospels of Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4.
Here, Jesus has seated Himself in a way to view how people are giving into the Temple treasury. We know that Jesus is nearing the end of His earthly ministry. This would have been the last week of His earthly ministry. So all through His three and half years of ministry this is the only time we find Him doing this.
Two thoughts come to me. First, Jesus watches how we give. Second, our method of measuring what we give is entirely different than Jesus’ method of measuring what we give.
In the verses just before the story of what the Widow gave, Jesus openly rebukes the Scribes. Mark 12:38-40 says, “Then Jesus said to them in His teaching, ‘Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.” Now He is about to commend a widow.
The very next action Jesus took was to move Himself into a position of watching how people were giving. That is intriguing, especially in my western mindset. Can you imagine the stir of security and ushers if someone were caught positioning himself to watch how people gave during our offering times in a Sunday morning service?
The widows gift, by earthly standards, wasn’t enough to be counted to move earth’s economy much at all, yet Jesus says her gift has moved the Kingdom’s economy more than all those who have given combined. That is incredible.
Heaven’s measurements have nothing to do with earth’s treasures. Jesus even says this about treasures in Matthew 6:19-21, “Don’t keep hoarding for yourselves earthly treasures that can be stolen by thieves. Material wealth eventually rusts, decays, and loses its value. Instead, stockpile heavenly treasures for yourselves that cannot be stolen and will never rust, decay, or lose their value. For your heart will always pursue what you value as your treasure.” (Now that verse probably sounds a little different than what most of you are used to hearing. This is from a new translation called The Passion Translation, check it out.)
Look at this again,”For your heart will always pursue what you value as your treasure.” (Matthew 6:21)
When the widow gave all she had, she was placing her greatest possible value on God. She gave sacrificially. A sacrifice costs. The rich were giving offerings but the widow gave a sacrifice. How are you giving to God? Is your giving a sacrifice or an offering? We are commanded to give both, yet there are times when our giving goes beyond offering Him something and into the Spirit-led place of costing us. A sacrifice costs us.
This principle extends past our monetary giving and into the way we live our lives. “For your heart will always pursue what you value as your treasure.” So give sacrificially, yes. But more than that, we are to live sacrificially; our life for His.
I say pursue Him, He is watching, He alone knows the measure of your sacrifice and He alone will reward you. Yes, He will reward you!