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The Widow’s Mites and the Value of Your Heart to God

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The true value of our hearts is hidden. But sometimes we reveal its value by how we give—not by how much. That’s the currency God cares most about.

The Widow's Mite and the Value of Your Heart to God

(Photo: The widow’s mite(s) were like these 2000 year old copper coins. By Royce Bair / Creative Commons license)

On His way out of the temple for the last time, Jesus sat down in the Court of the Women and observed those who made donations to the treasury. To be sure, this seemed an odd place to pause.

But the Lord had a lesson to teach His disciples.

It’s a lesson on how He values our hearts.

The Widow’s Mite(s)—Value: Next to Nothing

A number of offering boxes sat in the temple to collect freewill offerings.

Jesus observed as rich people threw in large sums of money. He also noted a poor widow who “put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent” (Mark 12:42).

  • The King James Version translates the word for “coins” as “mites,” a term derived from the French, miete, signifying a crumb or a tiny morsel.
  • The donation is often called “The Widow’s Mite” but she gave TWO coins, or mites!
  • These coins represented the smallest and least valuable currency in Israel.
Jerusalem model Temple Court of Women

(Photo: Jerusalem model Temple Court of Women, courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Practically speaking, the widow’s donation was worth next to nothing.

Jesus called His disciples over and uttered these startling words:

Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” —Mark 12:43–44

The Widow’s Mite(s)—Value: More than All

Jesus revealed that God values the heart far more than the amount given.

  • Most people contributed “out of their surplus”—from what they didn’t need.
  • But the widow gave sacrificially—“out of her poverty”—donating everything as a non-compulsory, freewill offering!

This revealed her heart, that her complete trust was in the Lord. She was the kind of person whom Paul later wrote about: “Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day” (1 Timothy 5:5).

The Lord weighs the value of the heart that contributes rather than the amount we give. (Tweet that.)

This generous widow stood in stark contrast to the religious leaders Jesus had just blasted—those who did good deeds only “for appearance’s sake” (Mark 12:40).

Jesus Watches the Treasury of Our Hearts

Jesus still watches the treasury. He weighs the value of the heart that contributes rather than the amount contributed (2 Corinthians 8:12).

The generous woman and her widow’s mite(s) remain a model for us, not that we should adopt a vow of poverty but that we should be poor in spirit, humble, self-sacrificing, and totally dependent on God.

Regardless our financial status.

Tell me what you think: How has God used money in your life to teach dependence on Him? To leave a comment, just click here.

Adapted from  Wayne Stiles, “The Generous Widow: Wholehearted Piety Despite Poverty,” in Women in the Life of Jesus (IFL Publishing House, 2011), page 40.


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