He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Our Gospel today is a familiar one. We typically hear this story from the perspective of the person giving from his/her surplus wealth being called out for not being as generous as the widow giving from her poverty. The call to be generous with our time, talent, and treasure is certainly a lesson we ought to take to heart.
Today, however, as I contemplated this passage, placing myself in the scene, I found myself drawn for the first time to the widow. We know the end result of her discernment–a generous gift of all that she had–but I wonder about her thoughts leading up to the action. Did she desire to give something, but didn’t feel like she had anything to offer? What was it like for her to see others give vast sums of money? Did she recognize her own gift as supremely generous, or did she feel it was insignificant?
In our lives, how often do we do nothing because we feel like we have nothing to offer? Perhaps we feel our contributions are too minor, or not worthy. The widow likely never realized the significance of her gift. How can we move beyond the self-doubt that our gifts and talents are not worthy and share as generously of ourselves as we are able?
All that we have and all that we offer
comes from a heart both frightened and free.
Take what we bring now, and give what we need
All done in his name.
—Refrain of All That We Have, Gary Ault © 1969, 1979, Damean Music
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