The Widow’s Offering

“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

In this passage, Jesus watches people put gifts into the offering box. As he watches the gifts that are given, he reflects on the mindset in which the people are giving. He notes the rich who give out of abundance, but he praises the widow who gives out of poverty.

What does this mean to give out of poverty instead of abundance? For many of us, when we consider giving, we think of ourselves first. How much do we need for rent? How much do we need to buy a new car? How much do we want to invest? Once we have our bases covered, we then consider how much we can contribute to the church or charitable organizations. However, Jesus praises the widow because she puts the needs of others before her own. These two small copper coins were all she had, and yet she gave of them willingly because of her great faith in Jesus.

This passage asks us to put the glory of God and the needs of others before our own. In Ephesians 2:10, it says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” When we accept Jesus and understand his love, we no longer do good things or donate our resources because we feel obligated to do so; we give freely because we are created for good works, and it is our ultimate joy to walk in them.

Giving is not something we do so that we can receive the love of Christ; rather, giving is something we inherently want to do because Christ first chose to give his love to us. For the follower of Christ, we count it a joy to have the opportunity to put others first as Jesus did with us. Through charitable giving, we get to be the hands and feet of Jesus and share his great provision with those who need it most. This holiday season, may we think of others before ourselves, and may we feel called to give freely and generously to furthering the kingdom of God here on Earth.