THE MITE STUFF

“But she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” (Luke 21:4b)

“Plink… plink.”

She gave from her poverty

She gave from her poverty

It was a quiet plink, not all that inspiring. To some it even came off as worthless. Certainly, the subtle ping paled to the loud clangs preceding it. Now, those were impressive! They had that magnificent ring – the rattle of big money! Silver! Gold! “Kachankity, chankitty, chang!” That’s what a real offering sounds like! In the temple of God, one’s giving should echo off the walls, because the plink stinks on such hallowed ground.

Few gave much thought to the widow who offered two tiny mites. Those who did probably sneered. Her measly offering couldn’t buy a candlewick. So, she didn’t get the oohs and aahs the big givers scored. However, she did have one admirer standing in the near distance. He was quite pleased with the faint plink of her offering. It had an uncommon ring to it – the ring of sacrifice.

Mark states in his gospel that, Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury.” (Mark 12:41) While some might be interested in “how much” people give, Jesus is more concerned with “how” they give. In other words, He doesn’t look at dollar amounts. He prefers big hearts to fat wallets.

Jesus had little to say about “how” the rich gave, and what He did say wasn’t complementary. Comparatively speaking, their offerings were a drop in the bucket. But, then, there was that poor widow. Jesus loved how she gave. She gave everything, bucket and all, which had Jesus singing her praises:

“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; or they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” (Mark 12:43-44)

While the widow’s mites may not have echoed down the money chute, they did strike a chord with The Lord. From His perspective, she had out-given all the others. She brought the entire cake while the rest tossed out crumbs. Hers was from the heart. Theirs was from the heap. The widow held back nothing. The rich held tight to their purses.

When it comes to giving, sacrifice says more than size. While size may say something about one’s wallet, sacrifice says more about the heart. As a matter of a fact, there is no better measurement of love than sacrifice. This is typically expressed in marital vows as couples swear to abide with one another through thick and thin. Each must be willing to lay down all for the other. And when children come along, more sacrifices are required. The high calling of self-denying love demands full surrender. Jesus said:

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

This is how Jesus demonstrated His great love for us. He gave His all by sacrificing His life for you and for me. We weren’t deserving of such love, yet He gave His all regardless. He didn’t just pour out a little; He poured out everything. Should you ever question His love, such doubts vanish once you consider the cross. He loved the world to death.

 It’s at the cross where we learn “how” Jesus gave. He gave from the abundance of His heart, holding back nothing. Perhaps this is why He pointed to the poor widow. The size of her offering spoke only of her poverty. Yet, the “how” of her giving revealed much more – she was rich indeed! Yes, she was extremely rich with love.

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