Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4, ESV).
One of the things I enjoy in reading the Bible is the glimpses it gives of ordinary people. Often, we never learn their name: the shepherds in Bethlehem, the boy with the lunch, the man born blind, the woman with the issue of blood, and the widow with two mites. While we don’t know their names, their stories live on and teach us meaningful lessons today.
The story of the widow with the two coins is one of my favorites of the “unnamed.” I wonder what her life story might be. I picture her as old, perhaps slightly bent and care-worn, but the Bible really doesn’t say. Did she have children? Or was she completely on her own with no one to help? We don’t know. Widows in that day did not have an easy life. But there are things we can discover from the short passage in Luke and also in Mark 12:41-44.
Jesus noticed what others overlooked.
The Temple court would have been a busy place with many coming and going, especially if it was one of the three times of daily prayer. Jesus may have been the only one to notice the poor widow as she dropped in her offering. His disciples did not see her until He drew their attention.
She demonstrated a heart desiring heavenly treasures.
Her giving reminds me of Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:19-21: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth . . . but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
She gave sacrificially.
The two coins, equal to about a penny, were all she possessed. Proportionally, she gave more than anyone else that day. Whatever amount the rich might give, they would not miss it. In her devotion, the widow willingly gave her all to the Lord.
She demonstrated great faith.
Giving her all showed a level of faith that few of us possess. It’s quite possible she had done this on other occasions as well. It would be her lifestyle. The words of Jesus in Matthew 6:25, 33 describe the type of faith she must have possessed. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink . . . but seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
You may have a different interpretation of the widow’s story than I do, but I think we agree that this nameless woman was a person who sacrificially loved God and had faith He would see her through whatever difficulties lay ahead. After all, Jesus sees what others overlook. He sees our heart.
The widow left the Temple that day never realizing Someone had noticed. She never knew that 2,000 years later you and I would learn a lesson of faith because she gave her all. She knew it was important to “seek first the kingdom.”
Lord, give me a heart that seeks heavenly treasures rather than the material things in this life. I trust You and know You will provide my needs each day. You are a God that notices me and loves me.