The Widow and Her Two Mites.
This is a Biblical story found in the books of Mark and Luke in the New Testament.
It has been used to teach many lessons, including the importance of tithing, the sin of being puffed up with one’s wealth and even as “proof” that God desires us to live in poverty.
The first two reasons I concur with, the third I think is wrong. In no place in the Bible does it teach us that being poor is God’s will for us. Quite the opposite is in fact true.
However, I believe that the most important lesson of all has been overlooked.
|First a short lesson in history. The mite was the lowest value coin that the Jews used.|
It was worth even less than the Roman quadrans. The smallest Roman coin.
I have read that it is estimated to be worth about ¼ of a cent in present value.
It is important to also understand the position a widow held in the culture of that time, circa 30-40 AD. Widows could not own property, and generally had no way to create income. Therefore giving one’s last two mites was a disaster.
One day, Jesus was in the temple, and observed some men of wealth paying their tithes to the temple, and were doing so in a very public fashion, making certain that everyone was aware of how much they were giving.
At the same time, a widow came in and gave her ‘all’, two mites.
Jewish law required Jews to bring their tithes to the temple, and all she could have been required to have given was one mite, and most likely, no one would have said anything if she had not even have given that. However, she gave both mites, all that she had.
Jesus used the situation as an example to his disciples, in that he pointed out that she had given more with her two mites, than that which the wealthy men had given, in that they had only given a portion of their wealth. After giving, they were still wealthy.
The Real Story
We do not know anything about the widow woman. We do not know her name, where she came from nor where she went.
She may have been a new widow, or may have been widowed for a length of time, but regardless, she had apparently come to the end of the line. She gave her ALL.
For some reason, earlier, either that day, or perhaps the day before, God’s spirit moved her to get up, take all of her money to the temple and give it to the treasury.
We don’t know what went through her mind, but we do know that she was OBEDIENT.
I can imagine that she might have argued that “why do you want my two mites, when I have nothing? What possible good could 2 mites do? If I give that, I won’t even have enough to eat”. And perhaps that thought did actually go through her mind.
However, if so, she ignored it, for she got up, went to the temple and gave her two mites, as God instructed her, JUST IN TIME for the Son of God to use her as an example to teach his disciples, AND several hundred million other people who have studied the Bible since that time, a lesson in giving.
We have no idea what happened to her after that day. She may have went out and died. Or perhaps she went and was taken in by a wealthy relative of her husband’s (Jewish law) and lived in comfort and contentment the rest of her life.
However, what ever occurred following that moment, one thing I believe is that her rewards in heaven have not been surpassed even by King David.
She was obedient. Without any cognoscence of what she had done, how important it was nor what her reward would be.
The real lesson here, is that we do not know how important we are to God. He can use the most un-influential person doing the smallest act to glorify himself and his works.
Our job, is to be obedient to his will.
Never loose your faith, no matter where you are or what your situation is. God knows and understands precisely where you are, and can use you, IF you are willing to be obedient.
He will not force you.
If you refuse, then he will find someone else to do the job and they will receive your reward.
I personally have failed Him many times in my life, and will not understand the rewards I have lost, the price I have paid and misery I have suffered for my disobedience, until judgement day.
Fortunately, God's mercy endureth forever and Jesus is faithful to forgive us.