What should I give to God?
38As Jesus taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! 40They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
41Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43Then Jesus called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
I think what Jesus was really lamenting that day in the temple was the fact that not everyone could participate in the kingdom equally. That for some participating in sacrifices by giving was an afterthought. At the end of the day they would still have billions of dollars left over – their piety and their faith was not grounded in what was really important. But for this widow, participating in her faith took everything that she had, leaving her little resources for anything else. I think Jesus is lamenting that kind of injustice. But Jesus has the ability to see her part in the kingdom, to see and honor what the rest of that temple courtyard probably glossed over. Jesus notices her act of faith and says that what she did was just as important as what the scribes and the religious authorities did – maybe even more so.
Because the truth is that when it comes to giving to those in need, we all have a role to play. Rich and poor both have gifts to give in living the values of the kingdom.