Today’s Reading: Luke 21-22
Today’s Reflection: Luke 21:1-3
1) Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, 2) and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3) And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 4) For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
As Jesus observed people depositing their offerings He contrasted the large, extravagant gifts of the wealthy (including the Pharisees) with the pennies deposited by a widow. That He regarded her tiny offering more highly than riches given by others is more significant than we can imagine.
As human beings we have a tendency to judge our value and the value of others by the assumption that having more means we are more. Being better known, more famous, more wealthy are considered to be ‘good’ things and indicators of a better life. God has a different measure of what makes for a good life, and it is centred on obedience. Have we taken the opportunities He has opened for us and followed His leading in our lives? Have we become what He has called us to become? And most importantly have we given what He has enabled us to give? If we have, no matter how great or how small, how famous or how humble our lives may be, they will be lives that please God.
And this is what Jesus observed. On one hand people of wealth and stature within society placing small fortunes into the offering box, yet without having to sacrifice anything. And God could see their hearts. Did their wealth come from cheating or exploitation (Exodus 23:6; Leviticus 19:15)? Or did they merely fail to follow God’s numerous instructions to share their abundance with the poor (Exodus 23:10-11; Leviticus 25:35)?
Deuteronomy 15:4 – But there will be no poor among you; for the LORD will bless you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess.
In truth, the existence of the poor was a sign the wealthy had not fulfilled their God-given calling.
And on the other hand was the poor widow. The fact that she was a widow in that society at that time meant earning enough to live on would have been extremely difficult. Even so, she still put everything she had into the offertory. She gave what she was asked to give, trusting that God would take care of her. She fulfilled her calling. And though she was unknown, and likely uncared for within her community, Jesus made her small act of faithfulness famous to billions of people throughout the ages.
Know that you are not required to do some great deed in order to earn God’s favour. Simply live the life He has called you to. If God gives you opportunities for wealth and fame, take them. But the reality is more of us will be called to more humble and modest lives. So be satisfied with the opportunities God has given you. More importantly know that the little acts of faith you do, though they may go unseen here, are seen and known by God.
Matthew 6:19-20 – 19) “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20) but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”