21 While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. 2 Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. 3 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. 4 For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”
There is often much misunderstanding in teaching about how and why we give in the church. On the one end of the spectrum is saying it really doesn't matter what one gives. On the other end is the Old Testament concept of tithing, which means to give st least 10%. The Israelites were to give a tenth of all of their produce, since most were farmers. But also they gave coins as is evidenced in the passage.
The context of this teaching is when Jesus is in the temple teaching the people. He spent time criticizing the Pharisees and The Sadducees, the religious leaders. The problem with them was they were good at pointing out other's sins, but failed to realize their own. In this story Jesus is pointing out what true generosity looks like. The rich people thought well of themselves for the sheer amount they have dropped in the box. But then a poor widow dropped in two, small coins called "mites" in the King James Version. Literally it was six minutes of an average daily wage. I.e. Not much.
But Jesus looks at the heart, not the amount. While the rich people threw in what might be seen as a large amount, the widow through in all she had. She literally gave "all she had". This was true faith and testament to her trust in Jesus. We might call her giving "radical generosity".
Giving is a very personal thing. Giving is between you and God. The question to ask is "how much would God have me give based on what He has given me?" And since God gave us His Son to die for us, He showed us what sacrificial giving looks like. The widow gave everything she had. Jesus did as well. As we move into the month of Thanksgiving, if you are like me, you have much to be thankful for.
May we take the mindset of the widow, as we consider how much we will return to God. This also involves our time and talents as well. God has given each of us a spiritual gift to employ in helping the church to reach more of those whom Jesus died for. And we know time is the most valuable commodity today. To give your time to someone in need. To give your time to God in worship and study. God can use our time, talents and treasures as we give all we have for His glory.