“Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”
A mite. No it’s not the creepy little bug that we all fear is hiding in our living room carpet. It’s a small currency that Jesus used in one of his most powerful lessons during his ministry. My sister in law told me a story recently that reminded me that these same lessons are still very relevant in today’s world. She had taken her family to a local church. The service started out perfectly normal: greetings and welcomes were exchanged, a few songs were sung, and the offering plates were passed around. All was going well until for some reason after the offering plates were collected the pastor announced that he felt like the congregation could give more money than they had so he had the offering plates passed around once again. My sister in law knew in her heart that they had already given what they could. She watched in dread as the copper plates snaked their way through the pews towards them. She and her husband were so embarrassed as people watched them pass the plate to their neighbors without adding any more money. Their disapproving faces said it all. “What could I have done, Lena?” she was looking to me for an answer.
This is still a big debate among Christians today and my answer is simple. You give what you know God is leading you to give. This amount is going to be different for everyone. Jesus tells us in Mark 12:41-44 that as he and his disciples were sitting in the temple they watched a woman come up and put two mites in the treasury box. Now, for those who don’t know, a mite, also called a lepton was small coin made of either copper or bronze. It was a popular currency back then and while I’m merely guessing I would say that a mite could metaphorically be the equivalent of two pennies today. Can you imagine the stares this woman got as she dropped in those mites. Probably very similar to the ones my sister in law and her family received (not judging, just saying). Jesus goes on to tell his disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but out of her poverty she put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”
I told my sister in law that I think it’s important to understand that Jesus isn’t downing others who give more he was simply trying to make a point to say if you are giving all that you can, God knows this, and it means so much to him. They could have spent that money on a dozen of other things but they chose to give it to His church to further His kingdom. If you can give 10% that great, if you can give 25% that even better! But if you know in your heart that all you have to give is two pennies, then that my dear friends is a precious gift indeed.
© Lena Wright 11/28/2015
References: Wikipedia contributors. (2018, January 7). Greek lepton. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:33, July 28, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Greek_lepton&oldid=819052012