Some gospels have their own special identity.
For example, when someone says, “The Good Samaritan,” everyone knows the story of the man who was robbed and left half-dead. The clergy passed on the other side of the street, but the Samaritan stopped and took pity on the man, and looked after his needs.
Another example is “The Widow’s Mite.” (The mite was a small Greek coin worth about a couple of cents). Jesus observed the people putting money into the temple treasury and declared the gift of the widow (her two small coins) was worth more than gifts of the rich people.
This might sound a little simplified but I believe that two types of people exist in our world: takers and givers. The takers go through their lives always on the lookout for what they can get. No matter what situation they find themselves in, the thought that is always, “What can I get out of this? What’s in it for me?” This type of person may appear to do many good things for people, but the motivation for their actions is anything but good.
They are willing to do a favor if they can get something out of it. They might not be looking for some type of material reward. Maybe they are looking for praise and affirmation and want you to think highly of them. Their behavior is infectious and it’s riddled with disease.
These people do not give or love freely. Their giving always has some strings attached to their gifts so they end up gaining something for themselves. In their imaginary bookkeeping, they have one column for all of the kind things they do for others.
Then, in another column, they record all the favors that others do for them. If the second column is shorter, they want to be repaid.
The second group are the givers.
This kind of person spontaneously perceives where and when people need something. They do this out of their sensitivity to others. The givers do not keep mental scores about the favors they receive or on the favors they give. They don’t look on everything from the viewpoint of what they can get out of it. Givers are people who are following the basic commandment to love. Love does not count the cost.
The widow was a giver.
She did not count the cost of her giving. In fact, she gave everything, all she had to live on. Jesus was amazed at seeing this woman drop her two small coins into the temple treasury.
Generosity is not a privilege of the rich. Everyone can practice generosity, since it deals with what each one has.
Jesus gives us contrasting pictures of what it means to be a religious person. The Scribes were takers who looked out for themselves and in their greed looked down on other people. They saw religion as an opportunity for gain, not as service.
The givers, like the widow, generously give their whole lives for the service of God. Their humility and authenticity deepened their spirit of generosity.
The widow saw her religion as a way of life. It inspired her to generosity with all that she had.
The rich people’s gift at the treasury was given out of what was left over. The widow’s gift was given out of what she needed. The author C.S. Lewis says, “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.”
The followers of Christ should have a spirit of generosity.
It is in our giving that our faith finds its expression. Love that is never expressed is not love. Generosity that remains within the heart does nothing to help others. May the poor widow inspire us to look deeply within ourselves and call forth the spirit of caring, love and thankfulness that is the mark of all true Christians.