|Posted by Baltimore Lutheran Campus Ministry on April 16, 2019 at 7:35 AM|
[Jesus] looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.’
Jesus is in Jerusalem during the festival of the Passover. Lots of pilgrims have come to the city, so it's crowded and great for people-watching. And Jesus sits outside the temple's treasury (that same temple where he just turned over the tables in frustration!) and he notices who goes to give the work of God's people. He sees the rich folk in fine robes doing their best to be noticed for how much they are giving. And he also sees the one who put in what she had. It wasn't enough to keep the temple going, it would have been overlooked by many. But Jesus honors the heart that gives, not the size of the gift. And he recognizes one who's heart looks like his own.
But I've got to say, this passage makes me a little uncomforatble, too. Does Jesus really expect those without much economic means to give "all they have to live on" to the temple or to the church? Even though I'm sure this passage has been used by some to mean that, this isn't who Jesus has shown himself to be in the rest of his ministry.
Here Jesus is turning his disciples away from the rich and powerful to see the dignity and faithfulness of one they might usually ignore. He's reminding them that those who are great in God's kingdom are not the same as the ones the world calls great. And he's reminding all of us of the cost of following- it's not giving when it's convenient. It's giving what we have and who we are to God even when that calls us beyond comfort.
It's not about giving money to the church- it's about giving ourselves to the work of God in the world. Sharing food with the hungry, sharing time with the lonely, sharing love with the unwelcome, sharing hope with the despairing. Even when we don't feel we always have enough of those things ourselves. Because this is who we are as God's people. Giving what we can and receiving from our neighbors when we are the ones in need.
Today, share some of who you are or what you have with someone who needs it. And if it's beyond your strength right now, then recieve the gift another gives you in love.