“…but she out of her poverty put in all that she had.”  Luke 21:4

This is a passage oft preached on in the bible.  Jesus is in Jerusalem, at the temple.  He and his disciples are watching people bring offerings to the temple.  Rich people are putting in their offerings, some with vast sums.  The lady, a poor widow puts in a miniscule amount in terms of large value.  But Jesus points out to His disciples the contradiction how amounts of giving are measured.

Ah, now the question comes, what was Jesus message here?  What was He really trying to say?  One thing is for certain, He is making a comparison.  The comparison seems to be about perception versus reality.  What I mean is this, the world would say that the rich have done far more for the betterment of the temple and their world by their vast sums that they gave versus the measly two mites the widow put in.  However, the reality is the rich did not come close to the level of sacrificial giving, that the widow did.  What have been the rich’s response if you said, put all your wealth in?

So I often hear this used as message to preach about giving and how much should be given.  Yet for me (and for those of you who have read some of the past postings  you’re saying, here he goes again saying he’s not a biblical scholar and yes I’m putting that disclosure out here so as to loyal to the truth) I think that it is interesting that Jesus makes no additional point after pointing out the widow’s actions.  When Jesus tells the story concerning the Good Samaritan, he tells the people listening, “go and do likewise.”  Jesus was not shy or obtuse about making points.  Yes, as part of God’s plan, Jesus taught in parables to the people back then, but then for the blessings and enlightenment of us, he explained the parables to His disciples so that we get the benefit of them.  But in this case, He makes the observation and that is it.

I am pretty darn sure of one thing, had I been sitting there with Jesus, I would have missed what the widow did, unless Jesus pointed it out.  I’m fairly certain the temple leadership and accounting officers of the day would have missed it.  No one would have been there to acknowledge it at all.  It might have been a bit of irony that when the daily collections were being counted, the temple treasurer might have even scoffed at the fool or idiot that would dare to give such a piddly amount for an offering.  This also ties back to Jesus teaching about giving.  In Matthew when Jesus is discussing giving to the needy, He warns not to blow on trumpets or make a big announcement about the amounts that we are giving so that people will celebrate us.  For then we have no reward in heaven.

But Jesus saw it.  And more than that, Jesus knew the widow’s condition.  He didn’t see two mites, He saw sacrifice.  He saw a heart that had money in a proper perspective.  He saw a faith that said, although I give my livelihood to the temple, I will not go away in fear.  And this is an amazing part to me, He didn’t keep quiet about it.  He who was God on earth, made sure that her giving was seen and the importance of it known by those around Him.

I would have missed it.   The world would have missed it.  Today, I am not, nor do I know anyone personally who is going to cure cancer.  I also don’t know anyone who is going to solve world hunger, or stop war or abolish hatred.  The world will probably celebrate some things that it thinks are big today:  someone will make a lot of money in a movie, someone will break a sports record,  and someone (this is where I find the world or at least parts of the world so strange) famous will name their baby; and the world will cheer.

What will happen for all us today is we will have the chance to help someone.  Someone will need some assistance; it may be a poor stranger, a close friend who is down, an coworker who is struggling, a young child needing a hand.  You and I have things to do other than helping that person.  Helping that person may take sacrifice, maybe even a big sacrifice on our part.  Here’s the thing, we are probably going to get little to no earthly recognition. It may even be, like the temple not even caring about the widow’s gift, the person or organization we help, may not give us any indication of gratitude.  We may think that it was a waste of time, effort and perhaps money and we won’t do that again.  Know this.  Jesus Christ sees!  Jesus Christ knows the circumstances intimately!  And Jesus Christ will not be silent!  He will make sure that heaven knows what you did and I, for one, can’t think of a better outcome than that.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we live in a world where the goodness of our deeds are measured by their size, their length of time, their worldly value among others.  We humbly admit that we too often use those same measures as we judge the deeds of others.  We are so thankful Merciful Father, that You do not use those measurements, but measure what is in the heart.  Give us the spirit to see things the way you see them.  Give us the strength to lift up the meek, celebrate the humble, and seek out the sacrificial.  May it be that we strive to be like Jesus Christ in what we see as valuable and what we do as significant.  That we may live a life and give glory to acts that Glorify Your Most Holy Name we pray.  In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

 

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