(The following account is a narrative of Jesus in Mark 12:41-44 KJV).
Jesus walked into the courtyard of the temple and sat down, observing the people. Truly, it was a mixed multitude. There were men within the court doing business, buying and selling and taking advantage of the people who had to buy animals. Jews from far places, dusty and tired from traveling, prepared to bring their sacrifices to the priests. Pharisees strode proudly through the throng of people, praying in loud voices and extolling their own virtue. Others, humbled to be in the house of God, had a glow of worship as they offered their petitions of prayer and sacrifice to the Lord God.
Jesus observed the activity and was moved in His spirit as He saw beyond each action and considered the heart of every individual. He was keenly aware of each spirit and motivation. He perceived humility in some and pride in others. He saw self-righteousness and covetousness while in others He saw humble spirits of repentance and hearts of self-denial.
A trumpet sounded. Jesus and many others of the crowd turned to see a Pharisee putting a large offering into the treasury of the temple. In the court, there were several coffers for the purpose of receiving offerings of the people. Jesus watched with interest as people walked to the coffers and dropped their money into the treasury. Some quietly deposited their money while others waved it around so that people would see the large offering. He observed one young family quickly drop their money in as if embarrassed at the small amount. He noticed many well-dressed people giving large amounts of money.
As Jesus watched, He saw an extremely poor widow woman throw two mites into the treasury. A mite was the smallest coin in use among the Jews and was of very little value. A look of love and compassion flooded the face of Christ. This woman had given the last money that she possessed to His father, God. She had nothing with which to buy food for the night, but she had given everything in a spirit of worship and sacrifice.
Jesus stood and called His disciples to come to Him. As the disciples gathered, Jesus began to speak. The group around Jesus grew as people’s interest was piqued at the unique things they overheard. “This poor widow has put more money into the offering than all of the others.” As the people looked at Jesus with incredulity, He expounded. “All of the others gave from their abundance, but this woman had great needs and yet she gave all that she possessed.”
This simple yet powerful story of Christ and the widow’s mite demonstrates how God views giving and offerings today. God is still watching and sees the abundance of the rich and the poverty of the poor. He sees what is done in public and in private. He knows the spirit that motivates the offerings that people give, whether given to be seen of men for praise and honor or given out of love and devotion to God.
God values the spirit of giving more than the worth of the offering itself. He esteems the sacrificial heart that gives to God even in poverty. While large offerings are a great help to the work of God, treasure is not laid up in Heaven by the dollar amount nor by the percent given but by the amount of sacrifice. Many rich people continue to give of their abundance and many poor people give not at all because of their poverty. Jesus is calling all to have the spirit and heart of the poor widow. Give sacrificially whether rich or poor. Give your offerings not of your abundance but of your sacrifice.