Tuesday in the Twenty-Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4

The Brave Widow Who Would Do Her Part

Two lepta.  A lepton, my bible notes tell me, was a Jewish coin worth 1/128 of a denarius, which was a day’s wage.  So this widow’s two copper coins amounted to a whole 1/64 of a day’s wage.  When saying what the two copper coins amounted to, the ESV simply translates the next Greek word, kodrantes, with, “penny,” not exactly accurate since a penny would not even amount to that much in our day, but it gets the point across.  This poor widow basically tossed a penny into the offering box.

The passage makes the point that the wealthy were putting large sums into these boxes.  Nothin’ wrong with that.  But what intrigues me about this passage is that this poor widow had the temerity to toss her pittance in the box regardless who saw her do it.  You see, most people see this woman as a victim, and, no doubt, Jesus makes it plain that she was, indeed, a poor widow.  But that didn’t stop her; she would put her offering in the box along with that of everyone else.  Why not?  She was a daughter of Abraham as much as they were; she was a woman created in the image of God; she, too, had her responsibility to give to the needs of God’s work and God’s people, and she would not be denied that privilege.  I don’t feel sorry for her; I envy both her faith and her pluck.

I recall a story (apocryphal or not, it does not matter) about a widow who gave a large sum to her local church.  The pastor was very bothered about it knowing the woman’s situation.  Though he was genuinely appreciative, he felt she could not afford to give so much to the church and so decided to visit her.  She assured him that her intentions were sincere and wanted to give exactly what she gave.  He responded, “I hate for you to give so much to the church.”  She turned to the young pastor with that reproving eye that only a grandmother can give and answered, emphatically, “I didn’t give it to the church or to you.  I gave it to the Lord.”  (Sometimes pastors can be guilty of taking too much responsibility for the members of their flock.)

Yes, the obvious lesson from this passage is: 1) Our Lord does not seek equal gifts but equal sacrifice; and, 2) Our Lord seeks gifts which come from willing and sincere hearts (2 Corinthians 9:7).  But since that much is obvious, I chose to come from a different angle.  We sometimes victimize people by seeing them as victims, and dehumanize people by dismissing their abilities to offer their gifts because we think we need to guard and care for them.  And in doing so, we make ourselves feel better at their expense.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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