We live in a time when executive bonuses are in the millions, professional athletes sign contracts for tens of millions, business acquisitions total in the billions, wars cost hundreds of billions, and our national deficit is over 10 trillion dollars. These enormous figures make one ponder the value of money itself. How significant is a cent nowadays? I must admit that I don’t even put the effort into picking up a coin on the street unless it is a dime or more.
This humble short story from the bible helps put economics in perspective for us and see how valuable two tiny copper coins, amounting to one cent, were to God.
41And He (Jesus) sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums.
42A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.
43Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury;
44for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44 (NASB)
After reading the story of “The widows mite” have you ever stopped and considered the significance of how two coins add up to one mite? The two coins are a wonderful clue into the true choice that was made.
Perhaps this woman of faith made a greater choice in her giving than we give her credit for. After all, the widow could have given one coin and kept one coin. She still would have given more than all of them. That would have been 50% of all she had which I’m sure would have equated to at least five times more than anyone else there.
I picture her standing, waiting for her turn embarrassed about her clothes, her shoes, her hair, and her miniscule offering. “One coin for God and one coin for me so I won’t have to beg in the streets as long tomorrow. Surely God won’t mind. Just look at that pile of money already on the altar.” I see her rubbing the coins together with her arthritic fingers as she drew closer. “No. I will give both coins. I will give the whole mite. God has been so good to me. Today I have food in my stomach and I have shelter tonight. He will see. He will know how much I appreciate Him. I don’t care what these people think they aren’t the ones who have provided for me. God has and God will.”
In these times of economic crises we find ourselves making every dollar stretch and flex to fit our budgets. We cancel vacations and magazine subscriptions cut back to basic cable and are more aware about turning off the lights. We do all we can do to maintain as much of our “normal” lifestyles as we can. When all of our cutbacks are said and done there is still one last temptation to wring a few extra dollars out of our leaner budgets. Some of us make this cut before switching to basic cable without much thought and others hold on until the temptation wears them down. The temptation is to reduce or eliminate our tithes, offerings and charity donations.
God was amazed at one tiny little half cent that was discreetly placed among a mound of offerings and said it was worth the most because of the spirit in which it was given. A poor woman with a heart of gold gave all she had to the Creator that owns it all anyway. It is said that God will role the entire universe up as if it was an old soiled paper towel and we struggle with all our might to gain a mite’s worth of what we cannot keep. We all, great and small, rich and poor, have a mite to offer no matter what our circumstances are. What can you give that would cause God to say “WOW”?