GOD is ‘WELL PLEASED’ with our SACRIFICIAL OFFERINGS: And He (Jesus) looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” (Luke 21:1-4)
Widows were common in the ancient world, and were usually poor, since their gender was at a clear disadvantage when compared to their male counterparts. A widow had less capacity for earning than slaves; and unless she had family or friends to protect and help her, she was most likely destitute and perhaps even homeless. In a way, widowhood was one of the most vulnerable positions and were often taken advantage of by the scribes and other religious leaders during the times that Jesus lived (see Mark 12:40). However, God’s Word tells us to "honor widows who are really widows" (1 Tim. 5:3).
As Jesus watched the rich putting their lavish gifts into the treasury of the temple, He was struck by the contrast between the rich and a certain poor widow. They gave some, but she gave her all. As Jesus rightly estimated, this poor widow gave more than all of them put together. While all the rich people gave a little out of their abundance that cost them little or nothing; this poor widow gave everything she had even though she was very poor. This widow was so poor and destitute that she was literally in danger of death! Dr. Joseph Parker makes the following profound observation: “The gold of affluence which is given because it is not needed, God hurls to the bottomless pit; but the copper tinged with blood He lifts and kisses into the gold of eternity.”
What this poor widow offered in the temple treasury were her last two mites (worth a fraction of a penny). However, this act was noticed by Jesus instantly who praised her for her extravagance. It was not because of how much she gave, but that she gave out from all she had. Even though this poor widow was not meeting a great need (ultimately God’s resources are unlimited), she was recognizing that everything belongs to God. Even so, she could willingly and joyously offer all that she had to God. This was that kind of gift that honored God and also reminds us that the most extravagant gift that God has given us is His beloved Son Jesus Christ Himself (John 3:16).
The lesson to be learnt here is that God notices everything what we give for His Kingdom work. The proportion of the gift (and not the portion) is important, and those who give “the widow’s mite” give their all, not their least. The gratitude of the heart can be seen in a generous spirit, and this widow gave generously to the temple. So, Jesus praised her for her generosity, even though it meant sacrifice. God’s accounting differs from ours, and He pays attention to our attitudes in giving more than the absolute amount of our gifts. Jesus commended sacrificial giving while disparaging the hypocritical posture that affects to give but does so painlessly.
Thus, God is well pleased with our sacrificial offerings to His work and kingdom. The condition of our hearts representing the commitment and sacrifice is more important to God than the actual amount we give to His cause. God judges our gift not by how much we give, but by how much we have left after we give!