Jesus tells a simple story about sacrifice and gratitude in Luke 21. Jesus and the disciples are at the temple, watching as people come to share gifts for the upkeep of the temple. Particularly, they are noticing the wealthy who were probably sharing big gifts. But then a widow comes, and all she puts in are two small copper coins. There is no applause, no fanfare, no big donor reception. She meekly puts in her offering out of faithfulness and gratitude. Then she walks away. And Jesus remarks to his disciples, “She put in more than the others.” The reason: she gave out of her poverty.
I saw a modern day rendition of this story recently at Southside. There was a letter that came in the mail to the church office not to long ago. It was from a lady in our neighborhood. She wrote that a while back, she was going through a difficult patch financially. But she had come to our church and received food. She was greatly helped by that and appreciative. Now, she said, she is doing a little better. While she does not have a lot, she mentioned that she wanted to give some out of gratitude and to possibly help someone else. Then connected to her letter, she had written out a check for five dollars. Again, no applause, no fanfare, no big donor reception. And Jesus gently whispers to us that she has put in more than the others. For she gave out of her poverty.
Why does Luke record that story? Why do I tell mine? Could it be that often we get caught up in numbers, accounts, dollars, and pride. Sometimes we need to reminded that God looks at the heart. Our heart. He looks to see: Is there love? Is there gratitude? Is there grace? The dollars are not as important as the heart behind it. Maybe he also shares this story because we read it and we find hope. Hope that through the widow’s mite, God is glorified and praised. I know that when I heard about this letter and donation, I found hope. Hope in a God who is still working. Hope in a God who raises up the poor. Hope that through it all, God can use a small five dollars to go a long way in His mission.