“They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything - all she had to live on.” Mark 12:44
I don’t believe I have ever put in everything. I’ve always held back just a bit, thinking it some kind of security. And that’s what we do, we hold back just a little. We give out of our abundance and tell ourselves it’s enough and that God is pleased. We may even feel guilty about this but soon get over it.
The first reaction to Jesus’ story is that it’s about money. Indeed it is while Jesus watches people putting money into the Temple treasury that the story of the poor widow emerges. It rises up as a surprise! Amidst the well heeled throwing in large amounts, a poor widow puts in two very small copper coins. It would be like us putting in two pennies. But this is significant and Jesus “calls his disciples to him.” It’s time for a lesson.
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus was intentionally watching the goings on at the Temple this day? Isn’t it interesting he was watching people do what people do? And I think it’s interesting that what he observed with the poor widow was so significant that he called the disciples attention to it. Apparently what was important to Jesus was that she “put in everything she had to live on.”
A paradox is something that goes against common sense, but is still true. Jesus seems to have liked paradox. The beatitudes of Matthew are prime examples of paradox. Jesus calls “blessed” the things that society would not. It doesn’t make sense to us from the human point of view. One would think large amounts would have meant more in the Temple treasury but Jesus says the poor widow put in more. Counter intuitive - paradox.
Upon reading all of Mark 12, Jesus has been teaching kingdom values. Loving God most! Loving neighbor as yourself! Pretense and superficial honor don’t matter. What matters is the condition of one’s heart. God doesn’t need your money he needs your heart, all of it. We’re not told how the poor widow survived since she’d given all she had to live on. We like to think perhaps that God blessed her somehow and took care of her material needs. But like the disciples, we are left to ponder the more amazing thing to Jesus which was based not on the quantity of the gift, but it’s quality.
In this month of Thanksgiving, may we be mindful of what Jesus is most interested in - our hearts. May our living and our giving of ourselves be in response to the love of God for each of us.
God Bless You,