The Smallest Gift: Luke 21:1-4

Luke 21:1‑4  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
He (Jesus) looked up and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury (in the temple). “And He saw also a poor widow casting in thither two mites.”
A mite was their smallest piece of money and the two were not of as much value as one cent of our money. So we would think that a very small gift for a grown person to put in. But Jesus did not call it small.
This was at a feast time when the people of that nation came to the temple in Jerusalem from every part of the land, and those also who lived in other countries, and they were all to bring gifts there. They were not told a certain amount to bring, for each was “to give as he was able.” They were called “freewill offerings” (see Deuteronomy 16:1010And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the Lord thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the Lord thy God, according as the Lord thy God hath blessed thee: (Deuteronomy 16:10)).
No doubt many pieces of money were put in the temple chest, or treasury, that day, yet this is what Jesus said of the woman’s gift: “Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all.”
The smallest gift was the largest! And Jesus told the disciples why that small gift, was the most: “For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury [poverty] hath cast in all the living that she had.”
When the others had put in their money they still had plenty left for all their needs, but the woman had no more; she must do without what the two mites would have bought. Since there was not a rule for the gifts, she could easily have kept one mite for herself, but she gave both.
What the Lord Sees in the Gift
The story of the poor widow will always remind us that the Lord sees everything given for Him, and also that He knows how much each one has left for himself. It is really the love of the heart He values, and that is the first gift to give Him.
Those who love the Lord, are also to help one another in need, and to do good to all (Galatians 6:10; 210As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10) Corinthians 9:7).
Jesus called the gifts, “offerings of God,” or for God, and that was why the woman gave all, she meant it for God’s honor. The great temple, or House of God, was then the special place where God was to be most praised, and the gifts were to be used to keep it all clean and beautiful.
All things of earth belong to God, so to give is only to return a part to Him, to show our thankfulness to Him (see 1 Chronicles 29:16).
The people who love Jesus give money to send copies of the Scriptures to people in other countries who do not have them, and they help men to go to all people to tell them of the love of God and of the death of the Lord Jesus. There are also many other ways of giving to Him.
Further Meditation
1. What made the widow’s small gift such a big one?
2. God places a deep value on the motive of our hearts when we give and only He can properly assess that motive. How can we keep our heart focused on giving the way Christ gave?
3. You may find Christian Giving: Its Character and Objects by A. P. Cecil and others to be a challenging but instructive pamphlet on the neglected subject of giving.