Two Coins - Too Much?
The widow had two copper coins left. They were the very last of her possessions. Beyond those two coins, there was nothing.
She dropped them into the collection tray. That’s it. She’s done. There’s nothing left. What will she do now?
Jesus spoke highly of this woman.
“I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
- Luke 21:3-4
Her sacrifice was greater than anyone else’s at that place and that time. With two measly coins, she out-gave the wealthy folks that were filling the tray to the brim before passing it.
We get that. It was about her heart right? She gave it all to God. She held nothing back. This was about a woman wanting to honor her God with everything she had (even though what she had was almost worthless to anyone else). That day she gave God honor. She gave God her trust. She gave God her hope. She gave God her life. She sacrificed it all.
That’s great stuff. There are lessons there for us. I imagine many of us have heard those lessons so I won’t try to put a fresh spin on that. I’ll move to something else.
Something that strikes me is that Jesus accepted and encouraged that widow’s full sacrifice. He didn’t guarantee that she would be taken care of after giving her everything either. You might think he would assure his disciples that when you sacrifice everything, God will make sure that everything will turn out fine (or maybe you’ll even end up with more than you gave), but he didn’t.
To our knowledge, Jesus did not give this woman any assurances. He didn’t tell her to keep her head up and everything will be just fine. He didn’t go up to her and say, “Hey, I can see that your heart is in the right place and that you want to honor God with everything you have - but don’t give the last of your money. God understands that life is difficult for you right now. He doesn’t really expect you to give up the last of your money to him. He’s ok with you not giving that money.” Nope, he doesn’t say that at all. He honors her. He elevates her for her sacrifice.
Could it be that the Son of God who was about to give his everything knew that sometimes, a sacrifice really hurts? There was no out for Jesus. When he sacrificed, he wasn’t getting an intervention at the last moment from God saying, “Alright son, you’ve proven to me that you love and honor me…there’s no need to go through all the torture and this horrific death. There’s another way. After all, it’s your heart that matters. And you have obviously shown me that your heart is in the right place.” Nope, he didn’t get that. What he did receive was the opportunity to honor his Father with everything he had.
I promise, this is not a post about giving more money. This is a post about giving everything. This a post about holding nothing back. This story is about someone who withheld nothing from her God. This is about Jesus seeing that and pointing it out to those around him. Essentially Jesus is saying, “Hey! Look at this! Take notes. Plan to do this yourself in the future. This widow lady has got it right!”
Sometimes, the sacrifice is not about what others get from us. It certainly wasn’t about the offering numbers getting a huge boost from this widow’s offering. Sometimes the sacrifice is about us - the ones doing the sacrificing. Sometimes the act of sacrificing does something to us and in us.
Don’t hear me wrong. I’m not saying that we should give lots of money and stuff to make us feel good about ourselves or to make us look good in God’s eyes (and certainly not in man’s eyes). I am saying that sometimes when we are willing to sacrifice and give everything over to God, we are living out the story of Jesus. When we start to sacrifice and give of ourselves like Jesus did, we become more like the Creator. We become just a little bit more like what we are supposed to be.
So don’t give of yourself to receive honor. Don’t do it to feel good about yourself. Do it to be like Jesus. Let us give more and more of ourselves to the LORD. Let us become more and more willing to sacrifice the important things in our lives for the most significant thing in the world - our Master and Redeemer.
Can you part with your two copper coins?