Daniel 1:1-6, 8-20
(Psalm) Daniel 3:52-56
This poor widow put in more than all the rest. (Luke 21:3)
At first glance, Jesus’ evaluation is ludicrous. Surely the rich donors have deposited far more than this widow’s two small coins!
But with a smile, Jesus points out that generosity is measured, not by what is given, but by what is left. Others have contributed their extra, leaving themselves a comfortable cushion to live on. This widow has given everything. All she has left is trust in God’s provision—and she knows that is enough. God loves her, and he will provide for her out of his glorious riches.
The key to this woman’s generosity is her attitude. Whether the other people give a little or a lot, they are clearly donating what they regard as theirs. The widow, on the other hand, knows that everything she possesses belongs to God—including her own life. Secure in this relationship, she has asked the Lord, “What should you and I do with these resources that belong to you?” When she decided to place it all in the collection, surely she had no idea that her generosity would provide an object lesson for Jesus’ closest friends, let alone for every generation since then.
What this woman did for the apostles the Holy Spirit wants to do for us. Every day, the Spirit gives us “object lessons”—often through the people around us. Whether it be lessons on generosity, prayer, loving people, or serving the poor, the Spirit wants to help us take on the mind of Christ. He knows that being “renewed” in our thoughts and attitudes is essential to our growth in holiness (Ephesians 4:23).
So be on the lookout for these object lessons. One man using an ATM to withdraw some cash was approached by a beggar asking for help. Over the next two weeks, he was asked for money three more times—each from a different person. At first, the man became annoyed. “Why can’t they get a job?” he asked. But then, the next Sunday at Mass, he finally saw that God had been urging him to be more generous.
God gives all of us these kinds of object lessons. We just have to learn how to be more alert and listen to his voice.
“Generous and loving God, widen my heart so that I can give everything to you, holding nothing back.”~WAU