“The greatest joy in all of livin’ is the joy that comes from freely givin’.” ` Jed Clampett (The Beverly Hillbillies TV show)
Yes, I can admit my age and admit I watched the classic TV sitcom (and still watch the repeats).
These were simple folks who loved to help people – without asking anything in return.
The Widow’s mite gives a great example of the joy of giving. She had little, but gave all she had.
Let’s see how this Bible study lesson reflects upon the spirit of giving and shows the attitude in which we should offer what we have.
How Much are the Widow’s Two Mites Worth?
The first question coming to my mind is; “What is a mite anyhow?”
Well, I did some searching and, not surprisingly a mite is a Roman coin. The value of the coins were no more than a few cents – The verses from Mark state only a cent. Here’s the breakdown Wiki gives:
“Two mites (Greek lepta) are together worth a quadrans, the smallest Roman coin. A lepton was the smallest and least valuable coin in circulation in Judea, worth about six minutes of an average daily wage..“
The Widow’s Mites and the Spirit of Giving
“And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums.
A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.
Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” ~ Mark 12:41-44
What They Gave – What the Widow Gave…
As you may already know, many of the richer people, those putting in large sums of money made lots of fanfare about how much they gave. It was more of a show than the act of giving to the temple.
I’m reminded of all the news stories out today showing how much this company or this wealthy person gave to charitable organizations and causes.
Many make front page news and are shown handing over those (physically) giant checks and shaking hands.
Now, am I condemning these people? Not at all.
But, what about the everyday people who carry meals to the sick or the homeless? Okay, you do see an occasional story online but, for the most part these Samaritans remain anonymous. They are not after fame nor tax breaks.
The rich people in this passage did give generously. But, was it from the heart?
When the widow gave her two small mites, Jesus knew what was in her heart.
Seriously, true gifts always come from the heart. And, the spirit in which they are given is more important than how much.
Jesus recognized that the woman was giving everything she had. Just think, this was money she could have used to help pay for food or clothing.
Our Gifts to Others – How Much is Enough to Give?
So, are we to give everything – no matter what? Is Jesus telling us to give our rent or food money?
Not at all. He simply points out that, whatever we give to others, or to the church, should be given because we want to – not because we have to.
Christ commanded us in John 13:34:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.“
And, that love we have for others is not a noun; it’s a verb. Our love for God and others should be backed by action.
What We Can Give
First of all, God doesn’t need our money. He could do everything Himself without using a dime! But, He chooses to allow us to share in doing His work. Isn’t that amazing?
So, in what ways can we give? Here are a few. We can give…
- Money – 10% tithe and some to causes
- Time – Volunteer work or, just helping an elderly neighbor carry their groceries
- Talents – We all have talents and spiritual gifts to use for God
- And Most Importantly: We can pray for others who are hurting.
I’m sure you can add to this list.
So, you see? Giving comes in many forms.
One Final Thought about Giving
When we think of giving to God, most times we think of our tithes, or putting a few dollars in the collection plate on Sunday.
And, it’s right to do so. God welcomes our tithes and offerings. But, God also wants our gift of time and our talents which allow us to work for His kingdom.
As one of my former Pastors used to say; “Let’s give back to God now.”
Love in Christ
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