Posted on Mar 10, 2021 | 0 comments

What is a Widow’s Mite/Might?

As I was pondering this morning on a blessing I received in the mail yesterday….the phrase ‘widow’s mite’ came to mind. And then of course since I am a multi-tasker, various words and images transformed ‘mite‘ into ‘might‘ and then MIGHT(y)! Meditating on that a little longer, I thought, this would make a good ‘sword stroke‘ 🙂 .. so here we go!

First, let’s examine what exactly was a ‘widow’s might’ from the scriptures:

“He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, ‘Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” Mark 12:41-44

So what was the Master saying? Was it just all about money? Did he just take pity on her having just a little and wanted to make an example out of her? or them? Well, I think the Master was pointing out several things!  Yeshua (Jesus) was teaching at the Temple in Jerusalem when he said this and we can read about it in Mark 12 above and in Luke 21:1-4. You may also be wondering just what IS a mite? In Greek it is called a lepta and two mites together are worth a quadrans, which is the smallest of the Roman coins. A lepton was the smallest and least valuable coin in circulation in Judea. Probably about the worth of our own penny.

Traveling back to the first century, we can envision an older woman (and back then I bet that ‘older’ woman could have easily been only 40-50 years old!), maybe with tattered gowns, carrying a small, worn pouch with a few coins in it, walking slowly into the synagogue. In my mind’s eye, it is easy to see her hesitate just a tiny bit as she slowly removes those two precious coins, fumbling with the old pouch she carries close to her waist and then quickly drops them into the reserve. She quickly walks to her seat and lowers her head, but inside she feels the glow of giving to her God. She had given her all…her ‘mite’ was a mighty gesture!

But is that all there is to the story? Are we simply being instructed to give to the church, the synagogue, the ministry and to do so no matter what and with a grin on our face? Is that was Yeshua was trying to convey? I don’t think so. Let’s look at the ‘other side of the coin’ for a bit. Take your eyes off the ‘money’ and see a bit deeper. Our Messiah was teaching in the temple, and if you read from the beginning of the chapter, he is focusing on the scribes. The scribes were supposed to know the word of God, they were to be the examples to the people. But they weren’t. They imposed restrictions and man-made laws on the common man/woman and yet they themselves put on a pretense of being holy.

This whole chapter focuses on Yeshua taking the scribes to task, pointing out their hypocrisy and twisted understanding of scripture. He is using the widow’s mite as an example of how the poor have been abused by their rules and regulations. Consider verses 38-40:

And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

So, bottom line, yes, it is good to give with a cheerful heart ~ but don’t give out of condemnation, or begrudgingly, or if you’re children need shoes (yes I remember when this really happened)!! There are many ways to give ~ of yourself, your time, your smile, your understanding and so much more than just a few or a lot of mites!

Just my 2 cents….Pam

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