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A Widow Glorifies God

“Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 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 12:41-44, NKJV).


Have you ever wondered what it takes to impress God? Perhaps “impress” isn’t the right word...maybe I should say, what does God consider remarkable? Here is an example of something that Jesus observed in the temple and found remarkable as far as His disciples

are concerned. And we are His disciples, too.


Mark and Luke recorded this account for us. I have always imagined this widow as older, but the text does not actually say that. W. Barclay gives the following background on the passage:

“Between the Court of the Gentiles and the Court of the

Women, there was the Gate Beautiful. It may well be that Jesus

had gone to sit quietly there after the argument and the tension

of the Court of the Gentiles and the discussions in the cloisters.

In the Court of the Women, there were thirteen collecting boxes

called “The Trumpets” because they were so shaped. Each of

them was for a special purpose, for instance, to buy corn or wine

or offer for the sacrifices. They were for contributions for the daily

sacrifices and expenses of the temple. Many people threw in

quite considerable contributions. Then came a widow. She flung in two mites”

(W. Barclay’s Daily Study Bible).


Apparently, they were somewhat like toll booths that you drive through and toss in your

money on the go. At any rate, the temple was busy, and people were coming and going, and

no one, it seems, took note of the widow. The disciples apparently didn’t. But Jesus does.

And he seizes on the opportunity to teach. Let’s notice a few lessons and encouragement

we can glean.


First, the fact that Jesus noticed her is in itself wonderful. While her mites may have meant little to any of the temple staff and made no impression on anyone else, the King of Glory noticed her. She was His child. And we can be sure that our Father and our Savior also see us. No matter how small we may feel or indeed be in worldly terms, there are no small disciples.


Second, as we discussed last week in Ephesians 3, this widow glorified God that day.

Her love and generosity were more of a tribute to the Father than any rich man’s bag. Imagine how her story might be told in the heavenly places—”Have you considered my servant, her love and her generosity.” And so, we can see that we do not need massive resources from the world’s perspective to bring glory to God. We can right now, today, with whatever is in our hands.


Third, our God does not share the world’s notions of equality and equity. Perhaps that is too political, so I will just leave that and move on.


Fourth, God does not judge His servants the way we do or the way the world does. God

indeed sees the heart; that is obvious here. Jesus had taught, “Do not judge according

to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). That is exactly how

He judged this widow. One of the biggest transformations in the life of the disciple is

coming to see other people as our God sees them. This has changed the world and will

change ours too.


Fifth, none of us knows who gives the most. Those who take care of the weekly offering

can perhaps tell you who put in the most $$, but they cannot tell who gave the most.

Only God can. So, let us not judge or show partiality, as we are often warned about.

It is a powerful and beautiful short story. Let us worship our Great God today, Who sees

all, knows all, and loves all.


—John Ostic



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