The Generous Girl: Part 5 in a Seven-Week Bible Study For Women

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this seven-week Bible study based on Love Letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl’s Heart. We’ll be studying the lives of seven incredible New Testament women. It’s the perfect way to journey through Lent together.

The Widow’s Mite: The Generous Girl

Read: Mark 12: 41-44

Raise your hand if you like people watching. I do.

There’s something fascinating about people. Jesus liked people watching too. And that’s where we find him in this story… sitting quietly in the wings, watching people as they dropped their offerings into the temple treasury box. In particular, he’s watching a rich man, who gave some of his money, and a poor widow, who gave all of it.


Now if Jesus was watching me as I dropped my offering in the church plate, I’m pretty sure it would make me dig deeper into my purse. Actually, if the Son of God was perched on the pew opposite, it would make me empty my purse too. But here’s the difference…

Even If I emptied my purse into the offering plate, just like that poor widow did, I would still have my credit card. I would still have my cozy little bank account, and my ‘rainy day’ savings account. But she had nothing, nada, zip, zero.

According to Mark and Luke, the widow’s two tiny mites, that together were worth a quadrans, the smallest Roman coin, was all the woman had. But when the time came for her to give to the church:

She, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on. Mark 12:44

How on earth do you give, out of poverty?

And here’s something else… if Jesus was watching me as I gave, that fact alone would be my motive to give generously. But there’s nothing in the text to suggest that the widow was even aware of Jesus’ presence. So what could her motive possibly be?

How can you trust God so fully, to take care of all your needs, that you’re willing to give all earthly treasures away?

These are the questions I’d love to ask that widow. I wish I could sit down and chat with her. I’d love to meet her and know her name. I’d love to peek into her humble home. Even better, I’d love to peek into her humble heart.

Because I’m sure that in the end, this story isn’t so much about money, it’s about motive. It’s not so much about what we have, but what’s in our hearts.

Clearly, the rich man, or the Pharisee, with whom Jesus was already in conflict, was motivated by pride, self-esteem and self-interest. (Just look at the way he’s clutching his money bag close to his heart, depicted so wonderfully above by my illustrator, Rachel Clowes); whereas the poor widow has no trouble letting go of her two tiny coins, because instead, this generous girl is holding on to God.

God knew her heart. God knows my heart. God knows your heart. And it’s our hearts, not our purses, that really interest God.


God, giver of everything I am and everything I own, you know my heart. Help me to give to you generously… whether money, or time, or service. Help me not to hold on to anything, except you. Amen.

Questions For Reflection:

  • What do you think it means, to ‘give out of your poverty’?
  • What questions would you ask the woman?
  • In what ways do you struggle to give generously to God?
  • What is God revealing to you in this story?

Going Deeper:

  • Compare these two accounts of the story from Mark and LukeWhat more do you learn?

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14 thoughts on “The Generous Girl: Part 5 in a Seven-Week Bible Study For Women

  1. Mary Jane

    give of my time to others
    give of my money to others
    give generously with out wondering if I will have enough for my self of time or money
    not boasting of all that I gave!!! of time or money
    that is the kind of heart I want

  2. Peggy Manrose

    Trusting God no matter what happens in your life. That’s what I feel the woman was doing. On the other hand, the rich man was putting all his trust in his wealth, thus why it was so hard to give.

    I have a sister that knows how to trust God with all that she has. She is an inspiration. And God has blessed her.

    Sometimes it’s hard trust God with all that I have, but God’s love always gives me peace and love. I’m sure if I got to see and talk with this woman of the New Testament, I would hear love in her words, and see joy on her face.

  3. Glenys Post author

    I love the thought that you would see joy in that woman, even though we judge her as poor!
    And I have a sister like yours too 🙂

  4. Pauline Smith

    In Luke’s account Jesus comments on the people giving what they would never miss. So whilst giving anything is a good thing to do, it’s so easy and costs us nothing. It may be quite difficult to feel as if you’re giving enough money if you have plenty but there are so many other things we can give which we would miss and which would be more sacrificial. This is a great study for Lent as we remember what Jesus gave and what it cost Him. May we strive to give without expecting anything in return and in complete gratitude to our Saviour.
    And I have a sister like that too ?

    1. Glenys Post author

      “May we strive to give without expecting anything in return and in complete gratitude to our Saviour.”
      What a wonderful line Pauline.
      And the last one too 🙂 🙂 🙂

  5. Lori

    I think that “giving out of your poverty” means that you are empty. Whether it is your pocket, your body or your spirit, you are empty but still give yourself to God and others. This can be very tricky and sometimes difficult in a society that encourages us to take care of ourselves and to not deplete ourselves. Honestly, I don’t know where you draw the line or if you do. I have been so fully depleted in giving to another and I felt myself far from joy. I like the word you used, Glenys, of motive and what was our driving motive. Maybe that makes the difference between unhappily depleted and joyously depleted.

    1. Glenys Post author

      I love that idea, that ‘giving out of our poverty’ means we give out of our emptiness, and that our motive may determine whether we are unhappily or joyously depleted…great food for thought Lori.

  6. Natalie Nellist

    Hmmm, when reading this study I think of the act of giving itself.

    I try to notice what is happening around me. How can I put a smile on someone’s face knowing I can not do it with my own moola.

    Examples would be, a lady in our office has a candy jar. That candy jar is always full and she always welcomes anyone to grab a goody from the candy jar. I’m sure the company pays for it and I always grab some and lately have been bringing it home to surprise the the kids (and hubby). That act itself is like a million bucks. Some might thing I may sound cheap but it makes me feel great all of the people I see smile along the way. AND if I do have a little spare money, I will go out and buy a bag of candy and offer it to the lady to restock her jar again!

    Listening. I think listening to people is another great act of giving. You give yourself to listen to someone, it’s a way of making someone feel needed, loved and cared for.

    A big wake up call too. Two days ago walking outside and almost into the building that I work, I noticed a man sitting on the walkway shooting himself up with a needle. In all of my 43 years have I never seen such a sight. And it disturbed me, it made me think why does someone do that to themselves and how sad. What if someone (of course, I’m not that person) went up to him and helped him to get better…


    1. Glenys Post author

      Natalie..what a sweet heart you have. I love it that you focused on the giving aspect. You know that man you saw? That would disturb me too. And it should. I know your city has a lot of homeless people, but we should never become immune to the plight of others, even if they chose that path. It’s so hard, because we know we should help, but that can often put us in danger. Pray for him. And I will too.

  7. Natalie Nellist

    Time. Sometimes, I think we could all use a little bit more time to heal/rest up/unwind from the daily grind. Can’t wait to see you here soon. xoxoxo

    I was thinking, why did “She, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on. Mark 12:44” What was the contribution for again?

    And I think tying it back to you first line – My hand is raised high, I am a people watcher myself!

    1. Glenys Post author

      Natalie…the temple had different offering boxes, some for temple tax and some for freewill offerings. Either way, she gave her all to God 🙂

  8. Natalie

    Interesting. How do you believe your all in someone you physically cannot see? Keep in mind, I talk to God but I wonder, does he hear me? I would give regardless if I could all the time. xxxooooo


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