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.
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?