She only had a mite to give but it was mighty-everything she had. It’s a familiar story, but it can raise some troubling questions.
Is Jesus really commending this widow for so impoverishing herself with her offering that she has nothing left to live on? Or is he speaking figuratively?
Is Jesus not so much commending the widow as he is commenting on how she was being victimized by the scribes who “devour widows’ houses?” (verse 40) Are they, like unscrupulous preachers of every generation, exploiting the piety of the poor for their own personal gain, enticing offerings the poor can ill afford to give?
These are questions of justice we can do well to ponder but will be unable to answer with the biblical words we are given. Yet answers can be found in our own lives. The reality for that widow is ours as well. Everything we have to live on belongs to God. Whether given to a “temple treasury” or spent for the daily needs of ourselves and others-including the bringing of justice for those who are exploited-it is all an offering to God.
May our own “mite”-far greater than the widow’s pennies-be so mighty.
Generous God, inspire our offerings that all we have is given to you for others. Amen. — LDK