Monday, May 16, 2011

The Widow's Mite

 Dr. Seuss once said “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”  There are so many problems in the world right now, like natural disasters, disease and poverty. We all want to help. But seriously, how can just one person make a difference, especially if their resources are limited? Mother Teresa advised us that “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” The lesson of the widow’s mite is an enduring testament to the value of a small but meaningful contribution. It is proof that when our hearts are in the right place we can not only help but inspire others to be generous as well.

 During the last Passover week of Jesus’ life, streams of visitors came to Jerusalem. As part of the celebration, Jewish people were required to visit the temple and make contributions to the treasury. On one particular day Jesus watched people cast their offerings. Much attention was being given to the wealthy men who made ostentatious contributions in front of everyone. In the mist of this, a poor widowed woman quietly came in. There she unselfishly casted into the chest her last two mites, hardly enough to buy a loaf of bread. (Mites were ancient pennies, fairly worthless at the time.)

And Jesus looked up, “and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.” (Luke 21:1-4)

This woman could have easily gone unnoticed. But devotion like hers did not escape the Savior. Instead of pointing out the offerings of the wealthy men, Jesus commended on the gift of the widow. She was not well-known and important but represented the lowliest of her society. However Jesus saw her worth as a great woman who was willing to share all that she had.

The cash value of her gift was nothing compared to that of the wealthy man’s but the devotion behind it was another matter. That devotion beginning there and spreading throughout the world has built hospitals, helped the needy, fed the hungered and encouraged the impoverished. Today the world knows more about this poor widow than about the richest man of Jerusalem in her day. 

Centuries later this woman inspires me to have faith to give a generous tithing. As she could not have known where her next meal would come from, but believed that God would provide for her. She also encourages me to give of my time and talents to help others as well. As in her day money was often called “talents”.  

I know that I cannot fix all of the world’s problems but I can help someone make their world a little better. I can take a meal to a sick friend, visit someone who is lonely or give a little money without judging a person in need. Like the Widow who gave her mites to God, I can give all of my might to serve Him and His children on earth. In doing so, I know that I can make some difference, will you?