2019 Advent Devo: The Widow’s Mite

Not having any money can put a real drag on the enjoyment of life.

If you were of the Jewish faith in the time of Jesus, not having enough money also meant that you were not capable of being a worthy Jew. It took money to do the things required by law that made you a “good” Jew. Giving sums of money to the Temple in a public display was one such requirement.

I so much enjoy how Jesus can take a serious situation in our lives and turn it in a whole new direction. This happened when the widow put her two mites into the offering.

The Pharisees think they have everything in smooth working order until Jesus comes along and says, no, no, no, no.  He says, “Here is the new view about money, about faith and tithing to the Temple.” Jesus says it is not how much you give that matters the most. This raises eyebrows of disbelief from all who hear it, including His disciples.

A denarli is one day’s wage. One denarli = six meahs. One meah = two pondions.  One pondion = two issarines. One issarine = eight mites. Two mites is 1% of a denarli which makes it 1% of a day’s wage.  (A mite can also be translated as a “crumb/morsel of bread.”)

It is true today that we have to have some money to buy food and maintain a living condition. So what is the deeper message here with the widow and her two mites and why did she place both of them into this massive round offering plate in front of this massive, ornate Jewish Temple?

It is true that the Jewish culture of that time did have a social system to “take care” of widows and orphaned children. It was a Jewish dictate, a law, that they do this in a sincere way. So if the widow had absolutely no money, she gave all she had, then she would clearly be supported by this Jewish requirement. But there is more to this story than simply the act of her giving all she had.

Jesus, watching as the long line progressed by giving their tithes, realized there was a deeper, more personal issue going on. It was a matter of sincerity, devotion and trust. There was the matter of her faith. The money was to be used for God’s purposes. The widow believed in Yahweh; she believed He would take care of her. She said by her actions, “I trust You. I believe this is the right thing to do. I give you all I have in obedience to Your love and care for me.” Then she dropped her two mites into the plate and walked away not knowing what the future would bring.

During this Advent Season we are called to refresh our awareness of what really happened when God gave us His All. By giving His only Son, who entered this world like every person who ever lived, God gave us the opportunity for a new life, a bright future and a Holy Spirit in this life to guide and show us what is right and wrong. God gave us His all knowing what the final outcome would be. And that final outcome is for us to live as Jesus lived to bring about heaven on earth and life eternal to all believers.

You are loved!
Steve Mayberry