[Jesus] 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.”
OUR PERSPECTIVE, OUR VISION
Jesus was a great observer of humanity, of birds and bushes and sheep and clouds. He was a great observer of life, and noticed what many people undoubtedly missed. On this particular occasion, he was noticing the offerings the people were making outside of the temple. He noticed the offerings that the rich people made. He noticed the offering of two small copper coins made by “a poor widow.” In Mark’s version of this story, Jesus saw many rich people “put in large sums.”
To a person who did not observe deeply, it would look like the rich people were the super-generous ones, because they gave large sums of money. But Jesus did not see it that way. He noticed the value of the gift when compared to the person’s overall wealth. And that leads to the key observation that Jesus makes: “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.” (Luke 21:4)
So it becomes a story about way more than how much people money people put in the treasury. It a story about incredible generosity and incredible faithfulness in God. You don’t put in all you have to live on unless you have an incredible trust in the One who provides everything... on a daily basis.
I am also suggesting that this is a story about how we see, or at least how Jesus sees in comparison to how I see.
I can miss a deeper truth if I only look at someone or something in a very superficial way.
“Oh, that person grew up in ____________. She/he must not be very educated.”
“He runs with a funny style. He can’t be fast!” (I remember thinking this one of the first times I saw my eventual Peace Corps roommate Alan run. Later on, when we ran in some long distant races in Dominica, he beat everyone in the entire country! Oh, but his feet flail out to the side when he runs! Yeah, so?)
“We’ve tried that before. That won’t work!”
“You’re going to make the one who is slow of speech confront Pharaoh and bring the people out of Egypt? Please! Not him!” (cf. Exodus 4:10)
“No way! Are you really going to anoint the eighth and youngest son of Jesse as the King of Israel? Why would you do that?” (cf. 1 Samuel 16)
You can probably think of a number of times when you made a big assumption, based on what you saw - or thought you saw. And from this assumption, you decided what someone had done, or what someone could do. I certainly know that I have this tendency to prejudge someone or assume something is happening, and I end up being totally wrong. (Who can see and who is blind - and why - is pretty much the theme of the 9th chapter of John’s Gospel, and is always worth another reading.)
Give us your vision, O Lord. Help us to see, for we are often very blind!