The Widow’s Mite

by Rob Dunne


Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” Mark 12:42-44

It wasn’t a feast fit for a king. Though the food tasted good, there wasn’t a lot of it. That didn’t matter. The motive behind it was pure. More than that, it was incredibly generous. After a week of vacation bible school, the parents and leaders of the local church wanted to provide us with a meal. As we said our goodbyes, the pastor explained how big a sacrifice this was for them. The families had given out of their lack rather than their abundance. Their selflessness meant going without for a few days.

This reminds me of the poor widow and her two mites. As poor as she was, she gave everything that she had to God. Why would someone do that? Why would someone so impoverished give everything that she has knowing full well that she will do without? Clearly, she understood the love of God.

Contrast that with the story of the rich young ruler. He arrogantly approaches Jesus and asks what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus lays out several of the laws from the Ten Commandments. The young man boasts that he has kept all of the commandments since his youth. Lovingly, Jesus responds that he lacks one thing. He tells the young ruler to sell all of his possessions, give them to the poor and follow him. Dejected, the young man walks away because he cannot perceive of giving “his” things away.

Sometimes our possessions possess us. Rather than recognizing that everything we have belongs to God, we hold on to them like grim death. What we fail to realize is our stuff is getting in the way of the abundant life that Jesus promises us.

Our value comes from an active relationship with the God of the universe. Daily He tells us how much He loves us and that He created us with a purpose and a destiny. Stuff on the other hand tarnishes and fades, causing us to seek the latest and greatest so that our value comes from our ability to keep up with the Jones’
next door.

The parents of those bible school children knew that God loved and valued them. They understood God’s love for them and that gave them the freedom to love us in the same way. The rich young ruler missed the mark. He had an opportunity to break free from the lie that our possessions define who we are. Jesus offered to show him how to live life the way that God intended, a life of selflessness where love compels us to put others before ourselves. Had he seen life through the lens of eternity, perhaps the young ruler would have allowed true love to define him and break free from the bondage of materialism.

What in your life is interfering with your ability to receive the love of God and share it with the world around you?

To learn more about Rob Dunne, please visit our contributor’s page.