Jesus was sitting with his disciples after a day of teaching in the temple. He’d just been talking with a Jewish teacher about the most important commandment. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” And, he said,” love your neighbor as yourself”.
When that conversation was over, and the crowd thinned out, Jesus and the disciples moved toward the entrance. Near the entrance of the temple, there were receptacles for people to use as they brought their offerings to God, to the temple.
They probably looked like a box on the ground with a chute for dropping the money in. Some people suggest that the chute was metal, which meant that you could hear the sound of the money dropping in. The more money, the louder the sound.
As they watched, they saw wealthy people walk in, look around to make sure everyone was watching, and then drop a bag of coins in the box. The text tells us that they were giving large amounts of money.
And then a widow, who was poor, came. She looked poor. She looked worn. And she looked around to make sure no one was watching. She dropped two coins in. They were worth a small amount. They made very little noise.
It was a scene that was common, I’m guessing. One that constantly reinforced the perception that the amount you give is important to people, and important to God.
What was different this time is that Jesus was watching. God with a body on. God with a voice that people could hear. And Jesus wanted to use this as a time to turn the values of the disciples – and us – upside down.
“That widow,” he said, “Put more into the treasury than anyone else all day.”
I’m guessing that he paused there.
And I’m guessing that the disciples turned and stared at him.
They knew that he knew exactly how much people had been giving. Everyone knew. Everyone heard the amount of money that people were dropping into the box and everyone knew that the widow had put the LEAST money in that box of anyone else all day.