“They all gave out of their wealth,” Jesus said. (See the start of this story from yesterday).
Which makes sense. It’s the only way to give. You take your money and you see what you can live on and you give a portion to God.
Church people often talk about a tithe, about 10%. You give 10% of what you make and you keep 90%. In churches where people give regularly, the average isn’t 10%. It’s about 3%. 3% of our gross income is what people who are committed give, on average. At least among people in churches in the United States.
If you make $50,000 a year, 10% is 5,000. That’s a lot of money. That’s a lot of house payment, or a lot of car payments. That’s a big help for braces or tuition.
We aren’t wealthy, after all. So giving 3% feels fair somehow.
But Jesus says, “They all gave out of their wealth. They gave what they thought they could afford to give.”
He went on. “But this widow gave out of her poverty. She gave everything she had.”
Those two coins were her current life savings. They were supper. They were rent. They were everything. When you look at the amount, she gave the least. When you look at the percentage, she gave the most.
Another way to think about it is that whatever the small percentage the rich gave was far more than the everything the widow had.
(If we read what Jesus said just before this text, he talked about the rich religious teachers who exploited the poor, who “devoured widows’ houses.” So they gave the money they extorted from the widow, and she gave the rest willingly to God.)
Another way to think about it is that the widow walked away from the temple trusting God to feed her. The rest walked away trusting their money.
She gave. And God noticed. As small as it was, it was enough for God.
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