“Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins” (Mark 12:41-42, NLT).
Can you picture this scene in your mind’s eye? Jesus was a busy man. He had a whole lot going on, all the time. He had multitudes to minister to. He had sermons to preach. He had countless sick people to heal and oppressed souls to liberate. He had a team to train, a team that was going to carry the immeasurably vital task of leading His movement once He went back to heaven.
And yet, He had time to sit down and watch people give their offerings. Why was this a priority for Him? I believe it was because Jesus came to show us the Father. One of the essential things He wanted to show us is that God is paying close attention to our gifts to Him. When we are generous towards Him, He takes extra special notice. It moves His heart in a way so profound it’s hard to describe. Look what happened next:
“Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on’” (43-44).
A widow in Jesus’ time was one of the most vulnerable members of society. She could not earn a living for herself. Without a husband, she was thrust into utter poverty. And yet, this woman wanted to give something to God. As Jesus so keenly observed, she gave extravagantly. She poured out to Him all that she had left to even survive on. She gave Him everything.
Does God measure our offerings? Yes. But His measurements are completely different from this world’s. He doesn’t measure them in terms of quantity. He measures them in terms of devotion. Of worship. Of the way we lavish our love on Him.
You know, this principle is not exclusive to finances. It applies to emotional strength too. There are times in all of our lives when prolonged painful trials have taken a hefty toll on us. There are times when we simply don’t have much left to give. If you are in a place like that, and yet, somehow, you dig down deep and pour out to God the very last of what you have left… you have no idea how much that moves Him. Tears roll down His cheeks as He receives your offering of love.
In our story for today, we can see that truth in action. This widow stole God’s heart. Her devotion was recorded for us to read about for all generations, until Jesus comes again. This reminds me of what Jesus expressed about another worshiping woman: the one who poured her expensive perfume on His head: “She has done a beautiful thing for me… I can guarantee this truth: Wherever this Good News is spoken in the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her” (Matt. 26:10, 13, GW).
When you give everything to God, no matter how small it seems to you, He takes close notice. Not only does your gift draw His gaze of unspeakable tenderness… but He also tucks it into His heart and habitually remembers it. Dear one, He remembers it forever.
Have you ever suddenly become aware of God’s gaze on you?