The Significance of a Small Sacrifice

The Significance of a Small Sacrifice By DAVID JEREMIAH for The Stream

Did you hear about the boy who took off his favorite bow tie during the church service and put it in the offering plate? When his dad asked him why he had done such a thing, the youngster replied, “Don’t you know? The pastor tells us to put our ties and offerings into the plate.”

Oh, to have the heart of a child! If the Lord needs it, we’ll give it at once. We should be glad to offer the Lord whatever He needs, whenever He needs it, for the expansion of His Kingdom. He delights in our gifts to Him, whether much or little.

Sometimes our little seems precious little, with the emphasis on precious. But our small gifts, sincerely given, accomplish much, as we learn from two widows, one in the Old Testament and the other in the New.

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Two Widows

In 1 Kings 17:8-16, the prophet Elijah suffered from food insecurity during a time of drought and famine. The Lord told him to go to the town of Zarephath. “See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you” (verse 9). Arriving there, Elijah sought out the woman and her son, who were down to their last meal. At Elijah’s request (and because God had prepared her heart), she made bread for him with her final cup of flour and oil and then made some for herself and her son.

From that moment until the famine ended, her flour bin was filled, and her oil pot never ran dry. She gave her precious little to the Lord, and see how He blessed it! Just a handful of flour and a bit of oil, yet we’re still reading the story and relishing its lessons as though the bread were still warm on the hearth.

We read about the other widow in Mark 12 when Jesus “sat down near the collection box in the temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money” (verse 41).

Temple officials kept 13 trumpet-shaped collection receptacles against the wall of the court of the women, which was accessible to everyone. The Passover crowds deposited their offerings there, and some undoubtedly made a show of it. Jesus watched everyone with interest.

“Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins” (verse 42).

The Greek term was lepta, which was the smallest bronze Jewish coin in circulation. In the older translations, lepta is translated as the widow’s “mite.”

Jesus called his disciples to him and said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on’ (verses 43-44).

Notice she had two coins. She could have given one to the Lord and kept the other for herself. But the Lord nudged her heart to give all, and she was responsive to the prompting. Someone once said, “She gave with all her mite.”

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