“The Widow’s Mite,” is a familiar title for a teaching by Jesus, presented in the Gospel accounts of Mark 12:41-44, and Luke 21:1-4.
We read that Jesus was at the Temple in Jerusalem. He was watching as wealthy people were giving large donations, when He sees a widow donate two copper coins. In the Greek they are called lepta. A lepton was the smallest and least valuable coin in circulation in Judea, being valued at about six minutes of an average wage.
Upon seeing her Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all offered their gifts out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had to live on.” (Luke 21:3).
This text offers a perspective on our personal relationship with God, through the lens of the widow’s example. The story is about more than money and giving to the church, though the story is a popular modern stewardship tool. But, it has more depth than that, far more.
It is about what drives the widow? What leads her to offer all that she has to God? What makes her small gift so large in the sight of God? What makes her example so important? It is that her focus was on God, and offering her all, everything, to Him. In order for the widow to be willing to give all that she had, her faith, her trust, must have rested in God, and not the “things” of the world.
The truth is, God does not desire our ten percent, or tithe, rather God, who has offered His all for us in love, longs for us to offer ourselves, completely and totally, in love to Him. God wants one hundred percent of our hearts, souls, and minds, our strength.
In this way, God is reflected in all that we say and do, in all that we offer, not just our money. While we may not be a perfected work, in Christ we find our perfection as we grow more and more into that perfect union with Him — But first we must be willing to offer from ourselves, our very being, not just our excess, or extra.
The Rev. Walter Van Zandt Windsor is rector at Trinity Episcopal Church.
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Yet, for many of us the things we value, that we “treasure,” are the very things we hoard from God. We hold on to these with “all of our heart, our soul, our mind, and our strength. They are the burdens we choose to carry, the idols that compete with God for our love. Our obsessions, relationships, our money, our hubris, our time, our selfishness; our hatreds, biases, prejudices, angers— these idols to our own folly, desire, and ego. The list is seemingly endless. Yet these are what most of us refuse to offer to God, and they are exactly what He wants from us. Our relationship with God can never be whole until these things have been offered up — these stumbling blocks that keep us from being who God is calling us to be— the barriers to the relationship we have with God. Let us pray that we be empowered to rid ourselves of everything that possesses us, choosing instead to live wholly, holy, for God. Let us empty ourselves that God may truly fill us with all good things. Baptizing all we are, have, and shall ever have, in the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost, becoming joyful givers unto God.