Mark 12:41-44 - And He (Jesus) sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And He called His disciples to Him and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."
This passage concludes a busy day for Jesus and His disciples at the Jerusalem temple. Earlier in Mark 12, Jesus tells a parable about the vineyard owner and his unruly tenants. That's followed up with Him getting grilled by some Pharisees and Herodians about paying taxes to Caesar, then another question about the resurrection from a group of Sadducees, and another from an earnest teacher of the law who wanted to know which Commandment was the greatest: "Which commandment is the most important of all?" (Mark 12:28b)
After this, Jesus sits down by Himself and watches the crowd dropping in their coins at the temple treasury. Some 13 offering boxes were set up in the court of women to receive these gifts from those worshipping at the temple. Jesus sees those passing by. His eye goes to woman, a widow, a poor widow, who drops in two tiny Greek coins of copper. This contribution was virtually nothing-1/64th of a day's wage for a common laborer which, in itself, was a paltry sum.
Yet, Jesus knows the heart behind the giving, doesn't He? After being questioned (annoyingly interrogated is probably closer to it) by religious leaders and supposedly those in the know about matters spiritual, what plays out is a simple scene they (and we) can all learn from. This woman, fending for herself without a husband in a harsh society and barely getting by, honors God mightily with her sacrificial gift.
Then Jesus has a word with His disciples. He speaks to the irony of value in respect to this woman's meager, yet costly, gift when viewed against the deep pockets of those who had plenty to live on. She gives from her need; they give from their surplus. Her giving from the heart and her love for God makes her living situation even more desperate (one would think), but there seems to be no other option for her: she is compelled to give. She does this in devotion to God and, stepping out in faith, she trusts Him with her life.
If only we could all approach God with such a simple, trusting faith.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, You abundantly provide for us. Teach us to give of ourselves and our resources, remembering that You supply our every need according to Your riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
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