Read Luke 21:1-4
1-4 Then he looked up and saw the rich people dropping their gifts into the treasury, and he noticed a poor widow drop in two coppers, and he commented, “I assure you that this poor widow put in more than all of them, for they have all put in what they can easily spare, but she in her poverty has given away her whole living.” (JBP)
There is no doubt that we are called to be generous with our wealth. The question to be asked is to do with how we measure that generosity. In this episode, Jesus rightly notes that while the rich people gave more money in absolute terms, the poor widow was more generous. The rich gave a lot but had a lot left over. The poor woman gave little but had little or nothing left over.
Churches and other Christian organisations sometimes make a great fuss over their wealthy benefactors. Their gifts are sometimes publicly acknowledged. Beyond the church, other organisations openly note how much people give and publicly reward them in return. The poor who give little are not seen to be as generous.
As usual, Jesus turns this idea on its head. It is what we have left over after we give that is a mark of our generosity. A millionaire’s bequest and a child’s token gift from their piggy bank are both generous gifts, but even then, one might actually be more sacrificial than the other.
And finally we might suggest that this applies to our whole lives and not just to our finances. We give God and others what we can, not what we can’t. The little we give might mean a lot more than we can imagine.