The old widow had already looked into her money bag three times. But every time she checked, all she could find were two, very small copper coins. She had nobody of her own and this was the last of the money she had.
She watched as people dropped bags of money into the temple treasury. She waited till the place was deserted and slowly walked forward to offer her two mites and disappear before anybody noticed her. The offering being so little, it almost didn’t make a sound when it fell into the box. But Somebody did notice. Somebody who mattered very much.
Jesus was sitting there and watching those who walked by. Yet, this widow was the person who caught His attention — so much so that He told His disciples that her offering was far more precious than all the wealth offered by the others.
A mite was barely enough to buy a sparrow and was considered to be the lowest denomination coin. Yet, the Lord was immensely pleased because she gave her all to Him, despite not knowing what her future may hold. It had value in the eyes of the Lord and was written down as a testimony for all time (Luke 21:1-4).
What the widow did had value in the eyes of the Lord and was written down as a testimony for all time
What can we learn from the story of the widow’s offering?
God looks at the intentions of our giving and serving, whether it is for self appreciation or genuinely out of love for God. Scripture reminds us in Colossians 3: 22-23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord God you are serving.”
If we truly do what we do because of our love for the Lord, it won’t matter to us if people appreciate us. Our greatest satisfaction would be in pleasing our Master and in the knowledge that He knows.
Sometimes, we may wonder if what we do can ever make a difference. We look at what we have to offer and it seems so little compared to others. But the wonderful thing about our Lord is that He receives all our gifts offered in love, irrespective of the amount and without any partiality.
“For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.” 2 Corinthians 8:12. Even something as small as offering a glass of cold water to a little one is being recorded and will be rewarded by the Lord (Matthew 10:42).
It always amazes me to think that, even before the foundation of the world, God designed us exactly as we are to accomplish His master plan in our generation. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:13). Imagine that! There is a job profile that has been crafted exclusively with you in mind.
Even before the foundation of the world, God designed us exactly as we are to accomplish His master plan in our generation
Someone very dear to me told me recently: in some mysterious, beautiful way, God wants the likes of you and me to work together with others for the smooth functioning of the body of Christ. If God is working in your heart the desire to please Him, be rest assured that He will also equip you to do the works that please Him (Philippians 2:13).
The old widow could never have dreamt that her tiny offering would be honoured by God and, what’s more, inspire generations to come. But there are no limits to what God can do through lives that are wholly surrendered to Him.
In the 1950s, during the Cold war in Russia, when Christians were brutally persecuted, there was a paralysed woman who had multiple sclerosis. Her twisted body was just a skeletal frame propped up by pillows. The only thing she could move on her own was the index finger of her right hand.
With just that finger, she typed, translating the Bible and hundreds of Christian books into the Russian language, while praying for the people it would reach. God did not choose to use her despite her weakness, but through her weakness. Because she was so sick and immobile, the secret police never checked on her and, for years, she was able to serve her Master silently and faithfully.
What Mordecai once told Esther applies to us too. You and I were born for such a time as this (Esther 4:13). We have been placed exactly in this exact moment in time — yes, even in the middle of a pandemic — to tell others about the most glorious gift we have been given.
Our heavenly Father was willing to forsake His beloved Son and give Him up as the ultimate sacrifice, so that people like us could become His beloved children and never be forsaken again for all of eternity. No gift we could offer will ever be enough to repay our Saviour. But we can surrender ourselves wholeheartedly to please Him.
Serving the sick, praying for the needy, sharing our testimony, or even just lending an ear to someone going through a tough time may be small but powerful ways to reflect Christ. Do it not because you want the world to think you are a good person, but because you want them to know the Lord who loves them.
May the Lord enable us to be human ‘Son-flowers’, constantly pointing others to our Saviour, that the world may know life is always worth the living just because He lives.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
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