“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
Why did the widow give her last copper coins?
She had great faith and was willing to sacrifice out of the little she had. Likewise, we are to give sacrificially, trusting God to provide. While this is true, asking a different question gets at what I believe is the main point of the story:
Why did the widow even have to give her last copper coins?
As Jesus’ disciples gawked at the grandeur of the temple, He was entirely unimpressed and was filled with righteous anger:
“Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” Luke 20:46-47 (emphasis mine)
Then walks in the widow to offer her gift in worship, which is admirable, but why is she even in such a destitute position? The lavish temple and well-dressed scribes were an insult to the justice God had laid out in the Old Testament; the religious leaders should have been the ones giving to the widow, as laid out in the laws they had memorized by the age of twelve. These are just two of the many commands given to care for the needy:
"Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan." Exodus 22:22
"At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year's produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied." Deuteronomy 14:28-29 (emphasis mine)
You and I are the new temple of God, created to be a blessing to the hurting and needy. We have also been commanded:
“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35
Giving doesn’t end with Christmas. Who are the weak ones around you? What do they need to receive from you today and into the New Year?
Jesus, you came to end systems of injustice and selfish gain. I need Your heart of compassion for the needy. Please create that heart in me today, Amen.
Give to the weak and needy. When you ask Him, the Holy Spirit will reveal what that will look like for you. When He does, simply say “Yes.”
Have you considered coming alongside the weak as an online mentor?