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The Widow's Mite

"Then he sat down near the offering box, watching all the people dropping in their coins. many of the rich would put in very large sums, but a destitute widow walked up and dropped in two small copper coins, worth less than a penny. Jesus called his disciples to gather around and then said to them, 'I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given a larger offering than any of the wealthy. For the rich only gave out of their surplus, but she sacrificed out of her poverty and gave to God all that she had to live on, which was everything she had.'" Mark 12:41-44 The Passion Translation

"Jesus was in the temple, observing all the wealthy wanting to be noticed as they came with their offerings. He noticed a very poor widow dropping two small copper coins in the offering box. 'Listen to me,' he said. 'This poor widow has given a larger offering than any of the wealthy. For the rich only gave out of their surplus, but she sacrificed out of her poverty and gave to God all that she had to live on.'" Luke 21:1-4

Why did these disciple authors consider it important to note the widowhood of this impoverished soul? I understand that in order to communicate the impact of Jesus' story they understood the necessity. It was not them who chose the widow; it was Jesus. So, the better reflection might be why did Jesus choose the widow? Why did he notice the widow among all of the people and then feel it important to use her example to tell a story of sacrifice?

Although I typically answer these questions in terms of historical context, I have chosen to give my thoughts some liberty and project my widowed experience onto this biblical widow, who is not named only described by her societal identification.


Here's what I think.

Jesus NOTICED her alone. As a widow, I need the reassurance of being noticed. The first months after the death of my husband, my needs were noticed and provided without my asking. People brought meals, paid bills, completed chores and made concerted efforts to include me, the grieving spouse. As widowhood became my new identity and I established a new way of living, these supports gradually lifted, and they should! Nonetheless, much like a pregnant mother loses the attention of pregnancy to the newborn babe, the loss of attention lends itself to that feeling of invisibility.

Widows face onslaughts of grief in the most unexpected moments triggered by the simplest things. In these periods of lonely grief, widows need to be noticed. I love that God NOTICED this widow. And then, He was captured by her poverty.

Jesus RECOGNIZED her poverty. When widowhood became an unexpected permanent fixture of my existence, finances was not the only area where poverty settled. Being poor in spirit, relationship, emotional resilience, mental prowess and physical strength also describes the journey of the widow. There are moments of raw weakness unlike any other life experience can elicit and these moments left me unable to catch my breath in the midst of deep groans of grief.

I wonder if the widow snuck toward the offering box while avoiding eye contact with those around her, feeling that her poverty made her less terms of societal status, physical beauty, emotional and mental strength, and spiritual worth. All of these become the battle of widowhood and wield the potential to destroy the hope of any future. No matter the reality that people faithfully speak, my perception is the reality with which I negotiate life. In the same way, the widow's perception was her reality. Jesus noticed. Jesus understood.

Jesus HONORED her sacrifice. I lost my husband, best friend, confidante, compliment giver, prayer warrior....the one who always had my back and confessed almost daily that he was my number one fan. Make no mistake -- it was not a willing sacrifice on my part. God could have fixed it, but he allowed life to take its course. With no understanding on my part of the required sacrifice, there are moments when my belief in His ability outweigh my trust in His acting on my behalf.

No one paid attention to the little she gave. Not one person honored her approach in the midst of the crowd to offer her two small coins, because in light of the sacrifice given by the general public it was seemingly meaningless. Really, what need could be met with two small coins? The story does not let us know if the widow knew she became a pivotal teaching moment. The widow, despite her loneliness and poverty, honored Jesus. Because she chose to honor Him in the midst of a cruel reality, Jesus honored her.

Jesus might have been the only one in the crowd that noticed. He was probably the only one who genuinely understood and recognized the depth of her poverty. Jesus was, undoubtedly, the only one able to honor her sacrifice and use her offering to cause others to reflect on their depth of commitment to Him.


You do not have to be a widow in order to be noticed, recognized and honored. No matter what battle encompasses your life, be it private or public, you are valued beyond any thought your mind wants to impress upon your existence.

Trust the TRUTH you have been given above any hand life has dealt and live out your commitment to Him.


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