Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Widow With the Two Coins



There is a widow in the Bible who is given just a little space, but in spite of what we don't know about her, there are lessons we can learn from her story and I want to concentrate on just one here.  Mark, in the 12th chapter, tells us that Jesus was watching the crowds as they put their offerings in the temple treasury.  Many were rich, but along came a poor widow who put in two very small coins. Jesus called this to the attention of his disciples and told them that this widow had put more into the treasury than all the others. The former gave out of their riches; she out of her poverty.

A widow in ancient Palestine was in a very vulnerable financial condition.  Most widows had no legal standing and no resources of their own.  If her husband died leaving her without sons to run the business or family farm, her land was put into the trust of someone else to run it for her. Jesus comments on the poor widow after describing the Scribes, the legal scholars and experts on the Scriptures, as those who "shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious...: (Mark 12:40) The implication of this is that the Scribes were using their status as experts of the law to defraud the widows out of their property.  They were supposed to protect this widow, but in fact had left her with only two small coins to live on, for how long we don't know.  It was a totally unjust system in which the poorest and most vulnerable were being exploited by the rich and powerful.  Jesus made note of this.

This should serve as a reminder to you that you are never out of the sight, heart, love, and care of your heavenly Father.  God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Today the widow who is managing on her own, even though there are more protections for her now than then, is still vulnerable to unscrupulous and devious people who prey on her vulnerabilities to defraud her of what is rightfully hers.  Jesus' sharp warnings to those who so treat widows is as valid today as the time in which it was first spoken.  And there are many such warnings in both the Old and New Testaments.

I would love to know more about this woman, and I'm glad that Jesus lifted the veil covering her life just a little and let us catch a tiny glimpse into her life.  Jesus let us know by this story of His great love and concern for the vulnerable among us.  Anyone who defrauds you or tries to take advantage of you in any manner is going to answer to the highest authority.  Thank the Lord for his ever watchful love and concern for you, and live with the peace that only our loving heavenly Father can give!

Shari Hervold


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