Reading: Luke 21:1-4 (The Message)
Just then he looked up and saw the rich people dropping offerings in the collection plate. Then he saw a poor widow put in two pennies. He said, “The plain truth is that this widow has given by far the largest offering today. All these others made offerings that they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all!”
I love this story and I hate this story.
I love this story because it is short, pointed and impossible to miss the meaning.
And I hate this story because it is short, pointed and impossible to miss the meaning.
And Jesus does what he does so often--He turns the tables on what I think is good and right. He teach me something of the Kingdom of God. He teaches me something about how to see and think about others that is so counter to the way I think.
I typically think when the rich, people like Bill Gates and other celebrtities, give money (whether lots or little), that is great and even worthy of praise. I typically think that anyone giving "a lot of money" is good. I typically think any giving is good giving.
But Jesus seems to have another way of seeing this. And he opens my eyes to see what is truly commendable.
When the rich give, they are not really giving. They simply giving "offerings that they'll never miss." There is no sacrifice in their giving. They don't even miss the money.
But the widow "gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all!”
So what lots like much (the giving of the rich) is actually very little; and what looks like little (the widow's giving) is actually very much.
And this is the kind of giving that Jesus comments. Not the amount and size of the gift but the rather the size of the heart giving the gift.