The Widow’s Offering is a famous example of Jesus teaching his disciples about the true nature of generosity. It is a story that is found in both Luke and Mark’s Gospels, emphasising its significance. In Luke’s Gospel it only covers four verses but is often considered one of the best depictions of sacrificial giving in the entire Bible.
Luke paints the picture of Jesus focusing in on the contrast between those giving at the temple. He sees the rich coming to the temple to ‘give out of their wealth’ (21:4). The rich give, but out of their abundance. They scrape off the top, they give their leftovers, their after thoughts; they complete their tick box exercise. After they’ve paid their bills, bought their food for the week and paid for their possessions, they give to God what is left.
At the other end of the spectrum, there is also widow at the temple, who gives two small coins. Jesus observes that this is all she has. In contrast to the rich, the widow gives out of her lack of abundance; she gives out of her poverty. She doesn’t give what she has left, she gives everything. She gives first to God as a sacrifice, and then relies on Him to fulfil her needs. At no point does the widow consider that what she has is too small to make a difference to God.
Ron Blue, a Christian Financial Planner notes: “God does not need our money. True, He commands and expects us to give, but our money is not what He’s really after… God asks you to give because He wants your heart. Your behaviour says a lot about what you truly believe… Are you willing to give Him your heart?” The Widow gave out of faith. She gave so much more than two copper coins; she gave her heart. Even if what we can give is little in the world’s eyes, what matters is not the size of the gift, but the size of the sacrifice.
How does your faith affect your generosity?