And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”–Luke 21:1-4
All the widow had to buy food with was two mites. These small coins were worth 1/8 of a penny each. She gave to God the only money she had. Jesus watched as she gave her offering. (In the Temple there were thirteen trumpet shaped funnels that led to 13 chests which was in the Court of Women a separate place for the women to give their tithes and offerings. Each was marked for a different use.] The term Jesus used “poor” widow was a term used to describe deep poverty. Most likely, the woman only had the clothes on her back, the shoes on her feet and possibly a place to lay her head at night. The phrase “all the livelihood that she had,” meant that until she earned more money, this woman was penniless…destitute.
Jesus did not go running after her to give her money. He didn’t send someone to give her money. He didn’t take the money out of the treasury chest and give it back to her. Instead He declared she had given far more than the rich men who had placed gold upon the altar. How could this possibly be? In Jesus’ ministry, people were sick and He healed them. People were hungry and He fed them. People were filled with demons and He freed them. Why didn’t He help this woman with money or food? How could Jesus be so “cruel” to not share what He had with this poor woman?
I heard a story once about two wealthy Christians, a lawyer and a merchant, who traveled with a group that was going around the world. As they were visiting in Korea, they saw by the side of the road, a field in which a boy was pulling a crude plow and an old man held the plow handles and guided it. The lawyer was amused and took a snapshot of the scene.
He turned to the missionary, who served as their interpreter and guide, and he said, “That's a curious picture. I suppose they are very poor.”
The guide replied, “Yes, that is the family of Chi Noue. When the place of worship was being built, they were eager to give something to it, but they had no money, so they sold their only ox and gave the money to the church. This spring, they are pulling the plow themselves.”
The men were silent for several moments. Then the businessman replied, “That must have been a real sacrifice.”
The guide said, “They do not call it that. They thought it was fortunate that they had an ox to sell.”
Philippians 4:19 says “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
We know this is true because God provided everything needed to build the Tabernacle, including sending His Spirit to help the artisans create the tapestries, mold the gold and silver utensils and to build the ark according to His instructions.
God gave the Children of Israel Manna from heaven to eat every morning while they were in the wilderness. But they had to go out every morning except the Sabbath to gather their food for the day.
God gave them shoes to wear that never wore out. But they had to walk in the wilderness for 40 years.
They were thirsty and God led them to water. But it was bitter water and they had to cut down a tree to put in it to turn it from bitter to sweet.
God provides for us abundantly however, we must participate in His blessings to us. God does not reward idleness. He gives us special skills to enable us to work and make money. Just as the birds hunt and find enough to eat for the day, God promises that our needs will be met each day. Because God gives these things to us, then we are thankful to give to Him out of His bounty to us. God created everything…and because He created it, it belongs to Him. Our tithe belongs to Him.
Sow sparingly, reap sparingly. Sow abundantly, reap abundantly. God loves a cheerful giver so give cheerfully, not grudgingly or from duty. God provides for all our needs in all things and God provides abundantly for each good work.–2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (paraphrased)
When the widow gave her two mites, Jesus knew her heart attitude. She gave cheerfully. She knew God would provide work for her so she could earn enough for her daily food. Jesus knew God would provide for her in His way. This is why He did not chase after her to give her money back. Her heart was Spiritually in the right place and therefore—even though she gave all the money she had—she missed nothing. She sowed abundantly, and Jesus knew she would reap abundantly.
She gave from her heart just like the Chinese family gave their ox. Joyfully!
Take a moment and think of some ways you can give cheerfully even without giving money. Then thank God for the ability to think, and for the abundance that He gives you so that you have access to a computer so you can read this devotion today. You are rich by the world's standards. Our God is an awesome God, He reigns from heaven above and pours out His riches upon us daily.