“…but she out of her poverty put in all she had, her whole livelihood.”
– Mark 12:44
At a time when everything was external, Jesus was looking at the internal. The Sadducees and Scribes were once again attempting to bait the Lord into an argument and accuse Him of heresy. Their intentions of the heart were wrong, and they cared only for themselves and what they could gain materially. They were men, strong in appearance and stature, adorned with the most beautiful clothing of the day and mighty in political and religious settings. A stark contrast to the poor widowed woman who had very little.
Jesus was a people watcher, as many of us are. However, our Lord observes and discerns the intentions of the heart. His observations are much different than ours. The Bible says, we “see the outward appearance, but the Lord judges the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). And, as He saw this widow’s devotion to God by her giving, Jesus saw her motive, her means, and how much she had leftover. She did not give out of portion but out of proportion. What a great encouragement this is to those who have few material possessions, but a great desire to give to God.
Regarding this setting, William MacDonald profoundly wrote the following:
“Amazing how we can approve the widow’s action and agree with the Savior’s verdict without imitating her example! If we really believed what we say we believe, we would do exactly what she did. Her gift expressed her conviction that all belonged to the Lord, that He was worthy of all, that He must have all. Many Christians today would criticize her for not providing for her future. Did this show a lack of foresight and prudence? So men would argue. But this is the life of faith – plunging all into the work of God now and trusting Him for the future. Did He not promise to provide for those who seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33)? Radical? Revolutionary? Unless we see that the teachings of Christ are radical and revolutionary, we have missed the emphasis of His ministry.”
“In God’s sight, my giving is measured not by how much I have given but by how much I had left after I made my gift. Not by its size is my gift judged, but by how much of me there is in it. No man gives at all until he has given all! No man gives anything acceptable to God until he has first given himself in love and sacrifice.”
– A.W. Tozer