The Widow’s Offering
Jesus looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.’
At the central point in the service of Holy Communion, as we move from the Liturgy of the Word into the Liturgy of the Sacrament, we come to the moment of Offertory. As the elements of bread and wine are brought to the Holy Table, so the financial gifts of the gathered congregation are brought forward for a moment of reception, blessing and dedication.
The offering of a sacrificial financial gift to further the worship, mission and ministry of the Church has a long history, rooted in the earliest writings and practices of the Old Testament. In early Jewish teachings we are urged to tithe our treasure, that is to offer one-tenth of our income as a freewill offering of praise and thanksgiving to God.
In modern times such matters have become more complicated, as well as watered-down! As fiscal transactions have grown in complexity we have found ways to obfuscate and prevaricate when it comes to parting with our ‘hard-earned cash’. Excuses and justifications abound in matters of generous giving! Even the Covid pandemic has played a part in such matters. We now hear an added excuse for not contributing to the Offertory: ‘We no longer carry cash!’
In the light of all this, today’s reading invites us to reflect upon our generosity towards God … the God who sacrificed everything for us! In just four verses from the gospel narrative we are challenged to consider how the loose change we ‘magnanimously’ throw into the collection plate measures up to the teaching and the example of Jesus.
Today we are reminded that our giving to God is not measured in quantity but in quality and depth. Giving out of our abundance rather than generously out of our poverty belittles our oft-proclaimed commitment and devotion to God. As we are invited to make our offering let us pray for the strength and the courage to entrust all we have to God, certain that his generosity will always far exceed our totality!
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