Since losing John to pancreatic cancer in July, I have spent much time seeking the Lord as to how to live, and walk out, this new role of widow. It hasn't been easy on any front, but, little by little, I'm finding my way. I have a feeling that I've a long way to go.
Part of my seeking has included searching the Scriptures. I've looked up every reference to widows in the Bible that I can find and have discovered that widows hold a very special place in the heart of our Lord. It is expressed by His special love for, and tender care of, them. Realizing that, and taken along with the admonition found in I Thessalonians 4:13 to “sorrow not as those who have no hope” has helped immensely.
Some that I have talked with...some that are in a similar place as myself...have trouble referring to themselves as a widow and don't like the reference at all, but, to me, the word “widow” is a Biblical term that the Spirit Himself uses throughout Scripture to describe a woman who was married, but whose husband has died. Therefore, to me, the word and reference is totally appropriate. My apology to those who disagree.
In studying the many references to widows in the Bible I find that a couple of my favorite Scripture passages are among them...the entire book of Ruth and the story of Elisha and the widow woman with the vessels of oil (2 Kings 4:1-7). Both of these passages are exceptional and are profitable for study on multiple levels...but...that's not where I'm headed today. I do recommend that you read and study those passages though. They are both very good!
There are so many directions that I could go with this, but, believe it or not, widowhood is not the focus of my writing today. It is through the study of it, though, that led me to where I am headed and that is to the story of the widow's mite found in Mark 12:41-44.
Interestingly enough, in the verses just prior to this passage (verses 38 through 40) Jesus was warning His followers to beware of the scribes (religious leaders) who seek recognition, honor, and prestige and who “devour widow's houses” (take advantage of unsuspecting and lonely widows).
Jesus had just finished warning His followers about this, when what does He see, but a certain poor widow throwing her two mites into the temple treasury. He calls his disciples over and makes note to them that the poor widow had cast in more than all the others. He said that they had cast in of their abundance, but that she, of her want, cast in all that she had.
As noted here by Jesus, the rich often give only a token from the abundance of their wealth that involves neither sacrifice nor generosity. Though the widow gave only a small amount, her giving represented a heart of extravagant generosity. She cast in “all the living she had.” She gave as much as she possibly could.
From this and other passages we can clearly see that the Lord doesn't evaluate our lives and ministry by outward success, but by the quality of our love, faith, and extravagant giving of ourselves to Him in sincere devotion.
Are you an extravagant giver of yourself to the Lord? Do you, of your want (of what you lack), give all that you have, or all that you possibly can (your hopes, your dreams, your talents and abilities, your substance), to Him...His service...His people? I'd like to encourage you today to seek the Lord on how to use what, you appear, to have little of to do great and mighty things for the Kingdom of God.
Now...just for fun...what is, and exactly how much is, a mite?
According to Google, “the mite, also known as a lepton, was a Jewish coin and the smallest used in New Testament time. At the time of Mark's writing, it was worth 1/64 of a denarius. A denarius was a day's wage for a common worker. In today's terms, it would be worth about 1/8 of a cent.”
The widow put in two mites. According to our passage (Mark 12:42), two mites equal a farthing. A farthing equals one-quarter penny.
I recently acquired a real mite that would have been in circulation between 100 B.C and 60 A.D. I can't help but wonder if it wasn't one of the very two that the poor widow observed by Jesus and His followers put in the temple treasury that very day. It's not probably, but it is possible!
The widow's mite coins above are replicas of those originals that were used in the Holy Land. May they serve to remind you of Jesus's teaching in Mark 12: 41-44 concerning the story of the poor widow and her extravagantly generous heart.
May we all have such a heart when it comes to the things of our Lord and Saviour in these end of days in which we live!
Until next time...
Scritpture references: I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Mark 12:38-44; 2 Kings 4:1-7; Ruth Chapters 1 through 4
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