“Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, ‘Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’” (Luke 21:1-4 ESV)
A friend recently shared about an experience she had while traveling in Cambodia. She had taken another friend to lunch, and the total bill for both meals was just $7. My friend left $10, assuming the remainder could be the server’s tip. The $3 tip was generous by even American standards, but still seemed a small offering in the grand scheme of things. Imagine her shock when the server rushed after her, exclaiming that she had overpaid. When my friend explained that the remainder was the server’s to keep, the young woman became overwhelmed with gratitude. My friend learned why a bit later when one of her trip leaders explained that the average wage in Cambodia is $2-3 per day. In just one small act, during one quick lunch, my friend had given her server a day’s wage – and the waitress still had more customers to serve! It was a “WOW” moment for my friend, as she realized how her “little” could impact another in such a huge way!
My friend had learned the lesson of the widow’s mite.
The four-verse story of the widow, tucked into the books of Luke and Mark, is a short tale packed with a lot of punch. Here are five key lessons we learn about the wealthy and the widow.
- Saw their wealth as “theirs.”
- Focused on their fortune.
- Defined and controlled their comfort level.
- Were enslaved to their riches and possessions and were focused on themselves.
- Restricted their experience of the God’s power and provision.
- Knew all she had was God’s.
- Did not focus on her poverty, but on her Provider.
- Gave all she had, well beyond the point of discomfort.
- Lived in freedom from earthly possessions, fully understanding that everything she had was a gift from God.
- Opened herself up for God’s work and was prepared to see His awesome power in her circumstances.
The widow realized a truth about God that perhaps the rich did not. God wants ALL of us, not just what’s leftover or what we can spare. He doesn’t even care if it’s in perfect running order! He just wants to be Lord over all of it.
Dear Lord, the challenge in Cambodia is huge, and we are so very small. BUT YOU ARE BIGGER! We know that You are Jehovah Jireh – The Provider, and You care for each of Your children. As we press into the Very Special Purse Party IV, Lord, please receive our offerings – every bit of them – and use them powerfully for Your Kingdom. Give us generous hearts and remind us that everything we have is a gift from You! To YOU be all glory! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.