In his epistle, James warns us about playing favorites. If a wealthy person comes to church with gold rings and fancy attire, we should not give that person preferential treatment over someone in shabby clothes. “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” (James 2:5).
The message of the widow and her two mites is similar. God’s economy is drastically different from ours. At the beginning of Mark 11, Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem to the people’s resounding praise. The next morning, when He returned to the Temple, He drove out the money changers because they had turned the house of worship into a den of thieves.
At the end of His time in the Temple, Jesus sat across from the treasury in the Court of Women, where many rich people donated large sums of money. Their wealth was evident to all by the clang of their offering as it was thrown into the bell.
Eventually, a poor widow shuffled by and dropped into the coffer two copper coins (lepta), the smallest Greek coins, worth 1/64th of a denarius. Each day, the Temple authorities gave this amount to the poor, so they could buy bread. This poor widow was giving her bread allowance back to God.
When Jesus noticed her, He gathered His disciples. He praised the poor widow for giving “all she had to live on.” While the religious leaders probably preferred the large gifts, many were given out of abundance and self-sufficiency. The widow demonstrated radical trust in God to provide her daily bread. She gave out of devotion, dependency, and faith.
>> What do we choose to give? How much do we give? This passage challenges us to check our own giving and our attitude toward wealth. Spend time thinking about your relationship to money. How can you give “all” to Jesus?
The widow’s gift sounds a bit reckless to us. What about her other financial obligations? Was this being a good steward? Help us, like her, to trust You with all we are and with everything we have.