"A Father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation… The Lord watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow" (Psalm 68:5; 146:9).
Our God is a God who takes delight in ministering to those who have no earthly support. The stranger, the orphan and the widow were continually held out to the people of Israel as special in God's sight. Again and again the people were commanded to care for those who could not care for themselves, to care for the weak.
One of the clearest marks of the true piety of Job is found in the words, "I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy" (Job 29:13; cf. Job 31:16,18). Our Lord's eye is ever upon the poor and needy, and He delights to exalt those who humble themselves and honor those who honor him.
Let us look at Mark 12. Here we are introduced to a nameless widow whose faith has been honored for nearly 2000 years. In vv. 38-40, the Lord gives an urgent and passionate plea against those who desire to make a show of their religion, and to practice their righteous deeds to be seen by men. Be careful that you are not doing good things just so that others will think well of you.
In vv. 41-44 we read: "Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had, her whole livelihood."
Notice the scene that is set before us in this text. Our Lord was watching carefully all those who were bringing their offerings to the temple treasury. In fact, the word used here implies that Jesus was watching very carefully all that was being done in that treasury area. There were thirteen trumpet-shaped chests that acted as receptacles for gifts and dues to the temple. Each one was marked for its own special use, so that the people would know which chest to use for their particular offering. It is amazing that our Lord takes an interest in such things. We should be mindful that all of our actions are under the scrutiny of our Lord. He sees as no man does, and what no man does. He sees into the motives of the heart.
Next we are told about a widow who came into the midst of the temple area to place her offering in its proper receptacle. It is unlikely that anyone noticed this poor widow, but she caught the eye of our Lord. We are told that she gave two mites. It is difficult to determine the exact equivalent of this offering in our day, but it was extremely insignificant in the monetary value of her day. Yet she is the only one who drew our Lord's comments. As a matter of fact He calls His disciples over to make a special point to them. This should both comfort and warn us. It should comfort us when we find ourselves limited in our ability to give to the cause of Christ. It should also warn us not to judge by outward matters either others or ourselves. God has His eyes ever and always on our hearts and our motives. We would do well to do likewise, especially regarding ourselves.
Finally, we note that our Lord informs His disciples about her gift in these words: "Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood." Our Lord says that her tiny, seemingly insignificant offering was actually accepted as more than all others combined. That is amazing! The reason is that she gave out of her poverty, while they gave out of their abundance. This recalls the giving of the churches of Macedonia spoken of in II Corinthians 8:1-5. Paul says, they gave "according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability." What about you? How does our Lord view your offerings to the ministry?
There are many needy children here in Lithuania, we have visited some of the homes, some of the orphanages, and they could use your help. Please, help them. The Lord makes note of each of His precious children who delight to serve Him with whatever their meager resources.
Rev. Michael Bannon, Vilnius, Lithuania
P.S. You can make a difference in a life of a poor child!
Registered Charity and Support Fund, Registered Charity No. 193194372