In many places we notice that Jesus saw things differently to those around him. He often took a different path than those around him because he saw things differently. Here in this section of scripture that speaks of people giving money into the treasury at the temple we see a perfect example of how Jesus perceived the events that unfolded.
The Widows Copper Coins
Jesus was standing in the temple when he looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. He also saw a widow place two copper coins into the treasury as well and Jesus said this of her gift. “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 the living that she had.” (Verses 3-4)
Most people who witnessed this scene would have perceived this quite differently. They would have seen the huge sums given by the rich and been amazed by their wealth. They may have even “oohed and aahed” at what they perceived to be the generosity of the rich people who gave in such abundance.
The Generosity of the Rich
Now there was nothing wrong with the rich giving so generously. Note that Jesus did not condemn or scorn their generosity, after all they did not have to give anything at all if they did not want to. And we must remember that there was no compulsion to give. This money was being offered as a gift, not a tax. Also we must realise that these gifts of money had nothing to do with tithing and they were not tithes, they were gifts pure and simple. So it was wonderful that the rich people were offering solid support for the temple through their gifts.
The key difference though is that the rich were giving out of their abundance. They could afford to give this money because they had plenty from which to give. But the widow was in poverty. She had little or nothing on which to live, and yet in her poverty even though she could not really afford to give anything, she gave her last two copper coins.
The Widows Gift
I expect the widow would have been a humble woman. She would not have stood out from the crowd and probably may have been almost invisible. Others may have ignored her because unlike the rich she would have been poorly attired and would not have come with any fanfare. She would probably have approached the treasury quietly and humbly and deposited her gift and then turned and left.
But this is what Jesus saw. This poor widows generosity was greater than that of all the rich because she gave all she had. Her gift would not even have been noticed in amongst the abundance being given by the rich people, but it was seen by the Lord and it was he who blessed her by telling the people of her generosity.
A Lesson for Today
Have you ever thought that what you are doing for the Lord is meaningless or trivial or of no account? Have you ever thought that you are doing nothing of value for the Lord?
Well fortunately the Lord does see things differently. He does not expect us all to have wildly successful ministries or to be missionaries in foreign lands or to give huge amounts of money or to build cathedrals or whatever. He does not expect the really big shows of piety from everyone. Sure there are those who are well equipped physically, financially and spiritually to do such things and the Lord uses them for those purposes.
But don’t think that what you do for the Lord is without value or purpose, for the Lord sees things differently. When you speak a word to someone, pray for someone, help make the teas and coffees at church meetings, offer your house for bible study and so on, this is important to the Lord for you are doing what you can.
Just as the widow gave what she could, you too are giving what you can. Nothing more is expected of any of us other than to do what we can and what we are prepared to do or give for the sake of the Lord’s work. Be assured that your “two copper coins” are just as valuable to the Lord as the cathedrals and so on given by others. In Jesus’ eyes we are all equal.
And I will finish today with a scripture that has helped me personally a lot in this area. It is 1 Corinthians 15:58 which says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” Whatever you do, whatever work, labour or gift you give for the sake of the Lord, no matter how small or insignificant to you it may seem, it is not in vain. The Lord uses everything we offer to him down to the last “two copper coins.” And best of all he blesses us when we do this in humility.
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