And he sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the multitude were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums.
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, this 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.”
Talk about a teaching moment!
Jesus had just been criticizing the scribes for their superficial, flamboyant displays of religiosity. And along comes one of the very people Jesus accuses them of robbing, a widow, who becomes his model of generous giving.
The fact that she is donating to the very institution that is oppressing her is ironic beyond comment.
The fact that she is donating when she has next to nothing to give Jesus makes a big deal of.
Challenging here is what to do with the lesson as a person who is comparatively wealthy compared to the destitude.
Maybe there is no lesson at all. Maybe Jesus is simply holding up the poor widow as a positive model of generosity.
I wonder, though.
Something about the stewardship of plenty requires thought here.
It is thinking that Jesus refuses to do for us.
It is thinking, thought, that he also refuses to let us off the hook for.
What does one do with a surplus?
Give it all away? Give away more than feels comfortable?
There is no rule provided.
It requires thought.
It requires personal responsibility.
It requires developing a certain kind of heart.
What do you take away from the model of the poor widow?