Faith Daily | 22 November 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - COLLECT PRAYER FOR THE WEEK BEFORE ADVENT
Stir up, we pray you, O Lord,
the wills of your faithful people,
that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works,
may by you be plenteously rewarded;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 21: 1-4
Jesus looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; 2he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; 4for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Rev’d Sandra
In today’s Gospel, Jesus observes a poor widow putting two small coins into the offering box at the temple. At the same time, there are many rich people coming to place their gifts in the box as well.
And we are led to conclude that the rich were being less than discreet about the quantity of their giving since Jesus’ words to his disciples imply that everyone can see the vast difference in the amount the rich are giving in relation to the poor widow. Upon observing the scene Jesus then offers his analysis:
“Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty, put in all she had to live on.”
Therefore, Jesus teaches that God is not concerned about the dollar amount that goes into the offering box. He is not intrinsically more pleased or glorified by a larger gift than a smaller one. And this should not be a surprise when we read in Psalm 50 verse 10 that “the cattle on a thousand hills” all belong to God. So, it seems to me that God has been, is now, and never will be, in need, and the collective wealth of the human species adds nothing to God’s power or majesty.
So what is the “worth” of an offering to the Lord (whether of animal or money or time or skill or a life)?
I believe that Jesus is teaching that the offerings of God’s people are measured not by quantity or quality, but by the heart of faith that pours them out. The poor widow put in more than anyone else because in relation to them, she was putting in 100% of her estate. Yet, I don’t believe the percentage of the gift is the primary point Jesus is making. I do not believe that the take away from this encounter is “always give away all of your money”. For some, that might be what is required, but I think Jesus’ commendation of this poor widow springs from something else - implied in the words - “all she had to live on.”
Because by giving all she had to live on, the widow placed herself wholly and without reserve into the hands of God. A widow in Jesus’ culture would have been destitute. She would have no husband and perhaps, no children to care for her. So the widow in that culture is the epitome of the “least of these”, for she is needy in every way. Yet precisely because of that need, she glorified God by entrusting herself completely to God’s care. The widow’s offering is precious beyond measure because with those two small coins, she exalted God by giving her whole self over to God in trust. Effectively, this woman was saying, with the one who would become her Saviour, “into your hands I commit my spirit” (Lk.23.46).
FINAL PRAYER: adapted from Northumbria Community, Celtic Daily Prayer.
Lord, all that I love
I place in your keeping.
All that I care for,
into your care.
Be with us by day,
be with us by night;
and as dark closes the
eyelids with sleep,
may I awaken
to the peace of a new day.
Give me fresh vision.
Let me experience
your love so deeply
that I am free
to face the future with a steady eye,
strong in hope through you.