The Two Mites

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 7
"And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury; and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing."
How little did these people know whose eye was watching them as they cast in their offerings! How little did they think of being scanned by One whose eye could penetrate the deepest depths of their hearts and read the motives that actuated them in what they were doing. It may be the ostentatious Pharisee was there, displaying his wealth and making a pompous exhibition of his religiousness. Perhaps, too, the cold formalist was there, dropping, in heartless routine, his stereotyped coin into the treasury. Jesus saw it all—weighed it all—judged it all.
It is well to think on this, on every occasion in the which we are called to contribute to the Lord's cause. Well to remember, as the box or the basket is placed in my hand, that " Jesus is sitting over against the treasury." His holy eye rests, not upon the purse, but upon the heart. He weighs, not the amount, but the motive. If the heart be right, the amount will be right, according to His judgment. Where the heart beats true to His Person, the hand will be open to His cause; of this we may rest assured. All who really love Christ will count it their high and happy privilege to deny themselves in order to contribute to His cause. No doubt, it is most marvelous that He should condescend to ask us so to do. Yet He does so, and it should be our deep and ineffable joy to respond, " according as God has prospered us," ever remembering that He loveth a cheerful giver, because that is precisely what He is Himself, blessed be His holy Name!
However, the point on which we specially meant to dwell, in opening Mark 12 was the act of the poor widow. Amid the crowd of contributors who pressed. forward to cast their offerings into the treasury, there was one who particularly engaged the attention of our blessed Lord. " There came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing."
Now, that was a very small amount indeed, if looked at in a pecuniary point of view. But think of the offerer. She was a " widow "—and a " poor widow "—the very impersonation of all that is desolate, helpless, and lonely, in this world. A widow always gives us the idea of one bereft of every earthly stay and natural prop. " She that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers, night and day."
True, there are many so-called widows who are not of this stamp at all—many who look aught but lonely and desolate. But these are quite abnormal. They are entirely outside the sphere of true widowhood. The Holy Ghost has furnished us with a striking photograph of this class in 1 Tim. 5:11-1311But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; 12Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. 13And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. (1 Timothy 5:11‑13).
But the poor widow at the treasury belonged to the class of true widows. She was one according to the mind of Christ. " And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow path cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury. For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living."
Doubtless had these been the days of the public press, the princely offerings of the wealthy would have been paraded in the columns of some newspaper, with flattering allusion to their large amount, while the poor widow and her offering would have been passed over in contemptuous silence.
But our adorable Lord thought differently. The poor widow's two mites outweighed, in His balance, all the offerings put together. It is a comparatively easy thing to give tens, hundreds, and thousands from our accumulated treasures; but it is not easy to deny self of a single luxury or comfort, to say nothing of a positive necessary. But she gave all her living to the house of her God. It was this which threw her into such moral kindredness of spirit with the blessed Lord Himself. He could say, " The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up." And she could say, " The zeal of thy house hath eaten up my living." Thus she was very near to Him. What a privilege!
But, reader, did you ever notice the shape in which she had her living? Why does the Spirit take such care to say " Two mites, which make a farthing?" Why not be content to say, " She threw in a farthing?" Ah! this would never do. It would not have brought out the real point of exquisite beauty—the true touch of whole-hearted devotedness. If she had had it all in one piece, she must have either given all or nothing. Having it in two, she had the option of keeping half for her own living. And truly most of us would judge it extraordinary devotedness to give to the Lord's cause half of all we possessed in the world. But this poor widow had a whole heart for God. This was the point. There was no reserve whatever. Self and its interests were wholly lost sight of, and she flung her whole living into that which to her heart represented the cause of her God. May God grant us something of this spirit!