Mark 12:41-44 reads: "And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, 'Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.'"

The historical account in the text above is commonly referred to as "the widow's mite." It occurred just two days before his death. It describes the day that Jesus himself sat in the house of God and watched people give during the time of the offering. On this particular day, he saw something that clearly tugged at his heartstrings: he saw one poor widow giving literally the last couple of tiny coins that she had to her name. He took note of the fact that she in a very real sense gave more than anyone else did. He was not speaking symbolically but quite literally. You see, on a percentage basis, the rich people gave very little, but she gave 100% of everything that she had.

How amazing is it that Christ was omniscient enough to know this! But it is nearly equally amazing that a woman who was not omniscient, a woman who had no clue where her next meal was even coming from, had such a heart for giving.

I thought of this account some time back, as I was made aware of the very modern-day rendering of it happening at my church. Each Sunday night, a few of our men take the church bus and go downtown and pick up a good number of homeless folks and bring them to church for a meal and for the service. We have grown to love them through the years. We have been blessed to see many of them saved, and have even seen some of them get completely back on their feet, gainfully employed, drug- and alcohol-free and solid members of our church.

On the Sunday night in question, the wife of our treasurer came to me after the service and said, "Would you like your blessing for the day?" I assured her that I would; as a pastor, blessings are obviously far more enjoyable than complaints. She showed me a tithing envelope and said, "One of our homeless men put a quarter in the offering plate tonight."

It is very hard not to cry at a time like that. These are people who, for whatever reason, are at the bottom of the barrel in their lives. And yet here, one of them was giving probably everything that he had.

When we think of worship, we normally think of things like singing songs, saying amen, raising our hands to the Lord or bowing on our face before him. But all throughout the Bible, we find that one of the most vital aspects of worship was that of giving. Rich or poor, old or young, people always knew that sacrificial giving was a vital aspect of their worship to the Lord. When the wise men came to worship, they did so by giving. When the elders in the book of the Revelation worship, they do so by casting their crowns before his feet.

Just like in Jesus' day, there will always be some who have the capacity to give greater amounts than others. But once again, it is not likely to be the overall amount that he notices as much as it is the percentage that he notices because that is a much greater indication of the true attitude of the heart. One of my children prayed, sought the will of God and committed to giving $100 a month to missions. Mind you, this was a child still in school, living at home.

It was fun to watch, from that point forward, how God gave my child work to do, or unexpected money from other sources, so that vow could be honored. It has also been enjoyable to watch as all of my children have consistently not just tithed and given to missions but have also time and again generously given to those in need, whether it was family, friends, fellow church members or even random strangers. Those who go through life seeing how much they can hoard up for themselves tend to be fairly miserable; those who choose to be joyful givers tend to be the happiest people on Earth and draw the notice and favor of God in so doing.

I suspect with all my heart that on that Sunday night, as a dear homeless gentleman put two bits in the offering plate, Jesus Christ the Lord of glory called his disciples unto him one more time, and said to them, "Verily I say unto you, That this poor man hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the offering plates: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but he of his want did cast in all that he had, even all his living."

Somehow that makes me want to give more than ever.

Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at Email him at

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Pastor Bo Wagner