I wonder if the lady in Mark 12 had been reading Psalm 49. The Psalmist proclaims that all the riches in the world can’t keep you from death. No matter how beautiful your home, how many possessions you accumulate in the end the tomb remains your home forever. To understand this, he says, is wisdom.
Perhaps it was this sort of wisdom that allowed her to give even though she was wondering where the rent might come from or food for her table. We don’t know her precise condition but what we do know is that she made giving to God her priority. She made obedience her priority.
Mark says that Jesus sat and watched the people dropping their offerings in the collection box. I imagine He could read their hearts as clearly as see the amounts they offered. I wonder if, when He said the woman gave out of her poverty, was He speaking just of her material wealth or if He recognised her as one of the Poor in Spirit.
She must have seen the others offering their large amounts, holding her two small, almost worthless coins I wonder how she felt? No matter how much we try and concentrate on God those thoughts creep in. Those thoughts of self and comparison with others. Those thoughts of how worthy are we? Are they better than me? Thoughts wondering ‘is this good enough for God?’ or ‘He must think more of them than me.’ Maybe even ‘I just shouldn’t bother.’
Imagine standing in line and hearing the heavy clink of coins dropping into the box, the glint of gold or silver ostentatiously tossed through the air to catch the light and show just how much is being given. Imagine standing and feeling the worn thin coins that won’t give a satisfactory clink or gleam enticingly as they drop into the box. Imagine the people behind you about to judge you. Imagine seeing the people sitting around and knowing they will see and hear your pitiful offering.
We do this. All of us. We forget why we are doing what we do and who we are doing it for.
Maybe this woman did what we need to do. She shook off the thoughts and focused instead on the One she had come to worship. Maybe she prayed as she stepped up. “Take it all Lord.” The coins fall and as they land she prays “It’s Yours already but here’s my acknowledgement that You are my Shepherd. You are my Light and Shield.” And as she walks away trusting God for her provision she has no idea that 2000 years later I will be humbled by her example, I will be taught by her obedience and worship.
I suspect Jesus knew. He knew and wants us to know that all our worship, no matter how small or large or whatever form it takes, should come from recognising it all belongs to Him already.
There’s freedom in that truth. Nothing we can do is good enough ever but He loves to receive it. Let’s love to give it.