The Widow’s Mite: A Generous Sacrifice

My dear friends, the gospel today has made a name for itself in the Scripture. The story is popularly known as the ‘widow’s mite’. The observation skills of Jesus and the generous sacrifice of the poor widow give itthe prominence it has acquired. It reflects the watchful eye of Jesus on genuine and sincere givers for ‘God loves a cheerful giver’ (2 Cor: 9:7). 

Jesus is very observant. He reads even the inner mostthoughts of our hearts.  Nothing is hidden from him. No wonder the psalmist prayed: “O Lord, you have searched me and know me.  He did so in the gospel today and was able to see what transpired in the temple treasury. He saw the gifts of the rich but observed with keen interest the sacrificial offering of the poor widow and said: “I tell you the truth…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” ( Lk 21:3-4).

The widow’s mite was a freewill offering. She willingly made the sacrifice from her “no resources.”  She gave all she had to live on, in contrast to the way most of us handle our money. We sometimes prefer receiving to giving, but Jesus encourages us to give. He made himself poor so we can become rich through his poverty (2 Cor. 8:9). Hence, the Scripture says: ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20: 35).

Photo by Marcelo Degleve @Cathopic

The value of a gift depends on its cost to the giver. Gifts to the Lord or to anyone are more valuable when they come from the heart and take something precious away from us. It is in fact like the giving of self. The more of yourself in any gift the greater the value of the gift.  That is what determines the quality of the gift. The quality and not the quantity matters a lot. And that is what Jesus praised and admired in the sacrificial giving of the poor widow. She gave all she had to live on. Invariably, she gave herself. Such sacrifices the Scripture says ‘are pleasing to God’ (Heb. 13:16).

A German adage has it that: ‘many look with one eye at what they give and with seven at what they receive’. But for us who are believers, we should rather look with seven eyes at what we give and with one eye at what we receive. That is what the poor widow did that accrued her praise by Jesus. As believers, we should consider increasing our giving—whether of time, talent or money—to a point beyond convenience or comfort.

There is great joy in the act of giving when it is done with a pure heart. Jesus’ response in this gospel reveals how much God is primarily interested in the motives of our hearts and takes note of gestures and acts we overlook. The act of giving is very precious to God and it does not go without a blessing. Hence Jesus commands: “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38)

Sharing with others is a sign of gratitude to the one who has given everything to us. Let us therefore, as Christians, emulate the generous sacrifice of the poor widow in this gospel. God bless you.

Apocalypse 14: 1-5, Psalm 23 (24): 1-6, Luke 21:1-4

Fr. Cyriacus Uzochukwu

Fr. Cyriacus Uzochukwu

Rev Fr Cyriacus Uzochukwu is a priest of the Catholic diocese of Orlu, a former editor of The Forum Newspaper of the diocese and currently the associate pastor of Sacred Heart Church Exeter, Devon, UK.


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