A reflection on the widow's mite

Written by Erin foster


Erin Foster will be a senior at Moody Bible Institute. She is an intern this summer on the advancement team, specializing in Missions Advocacy.

She wrapped a threadbare shawl around her head, tucking it behind her shoulder and starting on her walk to the synagogue. It was a cool and still evening — most of the dust from the street had settled, but what remained in the air created a canvas on which the sun’s rays painted stripes of several shades before they touched the ground. She rubbed two coins together in her fingers, thinking fondly of her late husband as she went.


Arriving at the temple, she approached the offering box in line behind a rather proud looking man who deposited a considerable amount of money. Then, inserting her two coins, she turned to hear a man’s voice say, “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.”

 

This imagery, derived from the story of the widow’s mite, filled my mind after a conversation with some friends this week. Thursday was International Widows’ Day, and throughout history, these grieving, vulnerable women all around the world have struggled to obtain their basic needs. And yet their poverty runs far deeper than their finances. Widows often lack a loving community, access to healthcare and other things I take for granted every day.


With our nameless, two-coined widow in mind, today I offer you a simple encouragement from my heart: let’s open our hands, give God the little we have and watch what He does with it.


While we do not know how the widow in this story felt when she gave, we do know that she gave all she had to live on. There is a solid possibility that the woman in this story (found in Mark 12 and Luke 21) was impoverished. But rather than choosing to live in fear or resentment because she had nothing in the world’s eyes, she gave everything she had to the Lord, and Jesus blessed her for it.


While pondering this story, I asked myself, “How often do we feel unable to make an impact because of how little we think we have to give?” Sometimes our hearts fill with fear and self-protection at the thought of sacrificial giving, but God offers us a better way of living.


Rather than closing my fists tightly around what little I have as a college student, I can rest in Jesus’ promises to provide.


“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:28b–30)


We are free to take Jesus up on this promise today. Jesus promises to provide us with what we need, meaning that we can joyfully give of what we have to others and to our churches.


Worth noting is that God doesn’t expect us to give $1,000 if we only have $20. We give of what we have, not of what we don’t (2 Cor. 8:12). There is no need to be discouraged when we give small amounts, because we see in Scripture over and over that God takes what little we have and turns it into a lot.


It’s possible that some people reading this may be in a tight financial situation like the widow in our story, and I want to say a big “Me too”! I am living comfortably compared to many others, but sometimes tithing and being generous can feel like a bit of a burden to me.


I pray that in the moments when our minds narrow in on our perceived lack, Jesus’ words in Matthew 6 soak into the dry, fallow ground of our hearts, enabling them to give joyfully and bear fruit.

 

For more information on how to help a widow living in poverty today, read this story from Mission Network News: "Change a widows life on international widows day"


Erin was inspired to write this blog post during her time this summer as part of our young adult program. Learn more about her here.


Help activate even more young adults into Kingdom-advancing work. We are working to expand our program this summer and beyond.