“Be [very] careful not to do your good deeds publicly, to be seen by men; otherwise you will have no reward [prepared and awaiting you] with your Father who is in heaven. So whenever you give to the poor and do acts of kindness, do not blow a trumpet before you [to advertise it], as the hypocrites do [like actors acting out a role] in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored and recognized and praised by men. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, they [already] have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor and do acts of kindness, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing [give in complete secrecy], so that your charitable acts will be done in secret; and your Father who sees [what is done] in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:1-4, AMP).
It is 6.14 inches long and 2.61 inches wide. Weighing in at one gram and only .0043 inches thick, it’s weight in gold has captivated many. Made of cotton and fiber, it can be easily folded and well hidden. It has been known as the root of all evil – although Biblically, the verse actually reads the love of it is the root of all evil…..
Her small hand held the last two bits of money she had. Looking down at what many would consider a measly offering, it was all she had – a priceless gift of faith. Head held high and honoring the Lord with what she could, the widow walked toward the receptacle to which drop her gift. The money made no sound against the backdrop of large gifts; there were no congratulators or special announcements towards her contribution. She walked away to work another week for the little she could do. Unbeknownst to her, the widow was not as obscure as she thought. A pair of eyes watched with love and adoration seeing into the recesses of her heart. His admiration burst forth as Maker of Heaven and Earth praised a woman who gave the very best she had.
She had no wealth, no prosperity, and no prominent position of authority. Although meager in appearance and alone in a crowded world, a King recognized a pure heart. Surrounded by selfish and rich well-to-do individuals – the far nobler in society – the widow is just a shadow on the canvass of her community. Large amounts of money and offerings were cast into the receptacles eyed by the Pharisees and Scribes. Her offering was neither appreciated nor approved.
God used this woman to reveal a faithful lesson to the twelve whom were with His Son. “And He sat down opposite the temple treasury, and began watching how the people were putting money into the treasury. And many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a mite (the least valuable of Roman coin, which amounted to only sixty-fourth of a day’s wages for a laborer). Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury. For they all contributed from their surplus, but she, from her poverty, put in all she had, all she had to live on” (Mark 12:41-44, AMP).
“Whomever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whomever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
The widow with two mites had faith. Her faith exemplified God’s character in giving. She would give to Him, as He continually gave to her. Although we might question the gift God provided, a small sum for a small existence, but our God will use anything to reveal His truth. The widow with two mites is recorded in God’s Word for her small offering because she gave her very best. Sometimes the best gifts come in small packages.
According to the Law of Moses, the Israelites were to give 1/10 of everything produced from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord (Leviticus 27:30). During Passover, the treasury was a busy place for tithing and giving. The treasure chests called trumpets – for their inverted horns – echoed and clamored with glee when large amounts of coins where deposited.
- Kent Hughes in his book, Luke, vividly writes, “The huge Passover crowds and public display made possible by the thirteen trumpets created an opportunity for outrageous preening and posturing. Imagine the hush that came over the crowd when a notable person approached, perhaps with an offering too heavy to carry himself, and the audible gasp as the shekels crashed into the bass trumpets.
The rich, fashionable religious world of Jerusalem and the Jewish elites paraded before Jesus’ eyes. It was a world of souls in peril. The ability to give on a scale that is not possible for others can produce a delusion of superiority and spiritual safety.”1
Through the audacious giving and applause stood one who truly shined above the rest. Our Lord could hardly contain Himself as He praised a woman, destitute and poor, for her generous heart – for she loved His Father. The Temple was full of individuals ready to tithe or give an offering, so this isn’t a matter of giving. It is a matter of heart. The widow with two mites gave all she had to the Lord and He blessed her for it.
Love costs. A love worth fighting for is a love we give our whole heart too. The widow gave all she had because she loved the Lord. She mimicked His generous love as our Father gave His only true possession – His Son. Love spurred this widow to give her all as love drives us to give all we have.
We are nearing the final chapters of this book. My prayer is your spirit is awakening to a fresh look on what an identity in Christ looks like. Through the last twenty days, we have prayed and read Scriptures regarding God’s precious love for His daughters. He continues to reveal truth as we navigate through the Sermon on the Mount. Two spirits in which bind many believers and their identities are greed and hypocrisy.
I believe greed and hypocrisy to be two deceiving spirits. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines greed as a selfish and excessive desire for more of something than is needed. Hypocrisy is defined as a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; behavior that contradicts what one claims to believe or feel.
Sitting in the Temple watching the gifts thrown into the treasury did not impress Jesus. The Spiritual realm was alive and well, and maybe more active during moments of righteous giving. The applause and adulation echoed through holy walls as money was humbly offered to the Lord. How many demonic assignments did Christ witness? How many greedy, hypocritically spirits – deceived by their vanity – were witnessed by our loving Lord? Through stony, black hearts, through the applause and thunderous congratulators, through the praises and accolades given to the righteous – stood one solitary sole who carried a pure, precious heart with two small coins.
Privately she prayed, solemnly she gave thanks, and quietly she left the Temple unaware of her Savior watching her every move. Our Father, who witnessed love for Him in His Temple, praised her selfless giving. The widow with two mites gave more than all before her – she quietly gave all she had.
The world loves acknowledgement. The world desires awards. The world prizes accolades. Recognition graces homes, corporations, educational institutions, churches, and sports complexes with trophies and plagues showcasing the vast donations and contributions given in full. It is a rare find indeed to see a heart offer God all praise and receive His honor and reward. It is a priceless gift to receive approval from God and not man.
Many derive their self-identity and worth through tangible awards attained through valiant effort. There is nothing wrong with receiving an award. The challenge is to not allow a prideful spirit take root. The obstacle to overcome is shutting the door for approval addiction – a constant need for applause and approval for self worth. The hindrance veiling your spirit for the drug of applause will obstruct your walk as a Christian. The enemy would love nothing more than for you to need a constant barrage of applause.
If the Lord has opened your heart to a deceptive spirit of hypocrisy – claiming humility, but pride fully enjoying continually recognition – then I would begin a Bible study on pride, hypocrisy, and humility. A quick search will open the door for you to study Bible verses, God’s Word, and Scripture regarding the painful effects of pride. Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” A man’s pride and sense of self-importance will bring him down, but he who has a humble spirit will obtain honor” (Proverbs 29:23).
I want to encourage you with these verses, “Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose]” (James 4:10). “Therefore humble yourselves under the might hand of God [set aside self-righteous pride], so that He may exalt you [to a place of honor in His service] at the appropriate time” (1 Peter 5:6). True promotion and reward come from the Lord. My prayer is your identity and worth are not wrapped up in the world’s fake, rusty, and moth driven reward system, but God’s precious prize of a Christian heart deserving of honor.
Picture is from: lds.org