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Mark 12: 42 – 44

And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. And calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, his poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for 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.”

This is a familiar story to many of you. None the less, I am hoping we can allow this narrative, and its meaning, to sink deeper into our spirits today. This woman’s act certainly got Jesus’s attention. Why?

There was nothing to be criticized in what the other contributors did but there was something different about the donation of the widow. What was so special about what she did that it caused Jesus to stop and comment? Here is another question – why in the world did she give her last penny, what was it that caused her to give all that she had? That which she gave was all that she had to live on. Think about that for a moment. Better still, try to put yourself in her position. If you didn’t have much how would you feel about giving to anyone, even the Lord? What if all you had was your last dime? Could you, would you put your last farthing in the till? I confess that I would find that a difficult thing to do. Our natural impulse is to take care of ourselves first.

Let’s try to get into this woman’s head? What was it about this lady that caused her to toss her last centavo into the plate knowing she would have nothing later with which to buy bread? Wasn’t this almost like signing her own death warrant? Maybe she wasn’t absorbed with taking care of herself first because she knew that it was not her job to meet her needs. Could that possibly be the case? Could it possibly be that her love for the Lord was greater than her self-preservation instinct? How about this, was she, perhaps, trying to meet her need by sowing into the kingdom? Did this Jewish woman know, in her heart, something few modern day believers understand? That penny wasn’t worth much as provision but it was invaluable as seed. Jesus taught us that the entire kingdom of God is contained in the smallest of seeds (Mark 4: 30 – 32).

I do not know what inspired this woman but I do know that it was a significant enough event that Jesus called his disciples over to witness it. It certainly is a humbling passage. Although Jesus made a point of isolating the incident for his disciples and for us, he did little to explain it. Perhaps this is one of the points in our walk with Jesus which he designed as a “Selah” moment, a time to pause and reflect. Maybe the full account of this event is meant to be explained by the Lord himself in the still, quietness of our hearts. One thing is for sure, this woman and her unselfish gift live on in distinction and are a quiet testimony to each of us.

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