“Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on’” (Mark 12:43-44 NIV).
Friend to Friend
One summer my family and I traveled to Yellowstone Park and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. One of our goals was to see as many unusual animals as possible. For us that was anything other than a dog, cat, or bird.
During the entire trip, we were on the lookout for moose, elk, buffalo, and other furry beasts with antlers. After several days we fell into the rhythm of looking for groupings of cars stopped alongside the road or crowds clustered in the woods. This signaled a sighting! As if holding up a neon sign, the assembly let us know we needed to stop. There was some magnificent creature we needed to see.
That’s what happened one day when Jesus was in the temple, but it wasn’t Himself He wanted people to see. It was a seemingly insignificant widow woman.
It happened during a Passover week when Jesus and His disciples went to Herod’s temple. The offering bins, or trumpets as they were called, were on the women’s level—the bottom level—number 1 of 5. That’s where Jesus went.
Mark tells us, “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury (Mark 12:41).
There were 13 offering bins. Picture Jesus pulling up a chair by a certain offering box, knowing exactly which one the widow would come to.
One by one, wealthy attendees tossed their coins into the coffers, making as much noise as possible. But then, she came. A shabbily dressed, worn-down old woman. She timidly approached the offering box and gingerly placed her treasure among the coins. Two small copper coins—the smallest coins in circulation in Palestine—just a fraction of a penny. Two of these lepton, as they were called, were worth 1/64 of a denarius, a typical day’s wage. But in reality, her coins were worth more than any day’s wages. They were all she had—and Jesus knew it.
Do you ever feel that other people don’t really care about what is going on in your life? Do you feel insignificant in the grand scheme of things? I am sure this widow must have felt less than. I’m nothing. I have nothing. I am invisible to these men with flowing robes and tasseled garb.
Ever been there? I have. But she wasn’t insignificant or less than…not to Jesus.
“Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on’” (Mark 12:43-44).
The widow had two copper coins. I wonder what I would have done in the same situation. I think I would have been tempted to just give one to the temple treasury and keep one for myself.
But she gave all she had, fully trusting that God would take care of her every need. Commentators have pointed out that when Jesus said, “She out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had” (Luke 21:4), the word “livelihood” is the Greek word bios, which means she gave her life itself.
Imagine the picture: Jesus calls the disciples over to see the widow and her gift. Thirteen men gather round the offering box as Jesus shines the spotlight on this woman’s sacrificial act. Now, what else do you see? I see other people migrating to the scene like my family in Yellowstone.
“What’s so important?” “What’s going on?” “What are you men looking at?” Then Jesus lifts His hand and directs their attention to one of God’s magnificent creations. Ta-da!
She simply nods, smiles, and walks away. If they’d had a cell phone, I think they would have taken her picture!
Jesus has a way of making much out of a little. How precious that Jesus used the gift of a seemingly insignificant woman to teach the disciples a significant lesson. She became a “look and learn” example to this burly bunch of men—and to you and me.
While she might have felt worthless in the world’s eyes, she was priceless in God’s. And friend, so are you.
God, thank You for using seemingly insignificant people to do significant work. Thank You for shining the spotlight on women all through Jesus’ story. I pray You will show me ways that I can make a difference in someone’s life today.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Who is one person that the world would consider insignificant who has made a significant difference in your life?
More from the Girlfriends
Sharon’s book, How Jesus Broke the Rules to Set You Free has been revised and updated! The new title is NEVER LESS THAN: Living Esteemed, Empowered, and Equipped When the World Tells You Otherwise. If you’ve ever felt less than because of your past, your present circumstances, or your gender as a woman then this book is for you! This is a message that your daughters and granddaughters need to hear.
Click here for a FREE download of 25 Ways Jesus Honored Women.
© 2022 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.
Good morning, Sharon, and thank you for this writing. One person who had a significant impact on me was my Nonna. She modeled and taught me hard work and hospitality. She went through a lot of hardship in her life and yet was still standing, always ready to crack a joke or share a hilarious comeback. All her life, she was a pistol, and at 89, she was more youthful than many people a quarter of her age.
my friend, Linda, gives out of her humble income. She buys groceries for those who are in need, personal supplies for women’s shelters and truly gives from her heart. Linda’s example has put a positive influence on my life over the years that we have been friends.
Thank God for the Linda’s in our lives.
My Aunt Anne; she didn’t have much monetarily, but she sure was rich in giving Godly wisdom and care to her family and her church family.
She was my example of Proverbs 31. After she passed, one of her Bible study members, told me he had learned more from her Bible study than others he had attended.
I miss her everyday…
Praise God for the mentors!
The most significant influence in my life has been Jesus Christ! The blood of Jesus cleansed this sinner from my past of really bad choices,rebellion,drug addiction, stumbling through life on my own terms.
God placed folks in my life;family and friends, too many to count, who have guided me to humility and surrender to my Lord and Saviour.
I’m now in my 60’s, delivered from the sins of my past, raised 2 children as a single parent,I have a Bachelors Degree and am working towards retirement in my job of 33 years working for a large Global company. If not for Gods Love and sending Angels into my life I’m sure I would not be where I’m at today. I was the woman at the well,but also the woman weeping at the feet of Jesus. Praise God for the folks who have come along side of me in my journey! Each person impacted my life in his or her own unique way, all my praise is for the trinity; God,Jesus, and the holy spirit! I am most definitely a story of Gods undeserved grace “beauty from ashes”.
Thank you for sharing your story with us!
I can relate to the woman in today’s devotional.
Many years ago, I took my two children to church. My husband was working that day so it was just the three of us. As the offering plate was being passed, I reached into my wallet and took out the only money I had – $2.00. I prayed to the Lord a simple prayer of trust. That was the money I had planned to use to buy milk. I gave all I had.
The next day when the postman came by I opened the mailbox to find a commission check for an account my husband had sold several years earlier. It was $7 and some change. I dropped to my knees weeping and praising God for His miraculous blessing. More than 3 times what I had trustingly given.
I will never forget that day and how God will, can and does bless us WHEN WE PUT OUR FAITH AND TRUST IN HIM.
That was a real hands on lesson in faith which I needed at that time.
What an amazing story!
I too I’m grateful for God’s mercy in my life the beautiful story of the woman with the Alabaster box
Sisters, I ask for your prayers, awaiting test results from biopsy.
Thank You Lord for your healing & saving Grace.