Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So 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; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”
Before being baptized, I attended a class which lasted several weeks. In that class, we learned what water baptism is all about, and the group who were to be baptized together became acquainted with one another. Obviously, this was a class geared toward new believers, so the teaching over those weeks touched on many Christian fundamentals. One of those fundamentals was tithing. As we went through this lesson, one of the women in our class said that it was impossible for her to give anything to the church at that time. Between bills, the mortgage, groceries and whatever her kids might need, nothing was ever left. I remember listening to her speak and hearing worry and fear. I believe that is what kept her from giving to God first and trusting him to take care of the rest.
If you have seen any of the film depictions of this scene, they really tug at the heartstrings. This widow is portrayed as old, frail, slow-moving and barely able to lift those coins into the treasury. I think that is all designed to illustrate exactly how difficult it was for her to give all that she had. It is a picture of how difficult it is for us to do the same, which is why we so often do not. We know that God is good and gracious, and we trust in his provision and generosity, yet we hold back so much. The interesting thing is that the Bible tells us over and over, whether regarding physical treasure or spiritual treasure, that we are to be generous with it. We are not to keep it for ourselves. Whether finances, time or resources, we only have what God has given us, and we only give back to him what is his anyway.
It pleases God when we are willing to give everything for him and to him. It lets him know that we trust him to be our real provision. A common question posed to those who think that they do not have enough money to give or tithe is whether they trust God to do more with 90% of what they have than what they can do with all of it. Foundationally, we always must remember that this is not about ownership but about stewardship. God is trusting us to do the right thing with everything He lends us. He finds pleasure in those who understand true stewardship and live it. Father, give us the generosity and faith of that poor widow, that we would desire to give everything for You and trust in your provision.