And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all of those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything that she had, all she had to live on.”

Mark 12: 43, 44

Jesus is making a statement that is in the form of a parable; so, we need to consider the deeper or the hidden meanings in His words. For Jesus used parables as a means of both sifting out people who did not truly know God from those who were sincere in their desire to gain eternal truth and understanding, and He also utilized this obscured form of teaching so that His followers would be forced to dig deeper into God’s word and allow that those complex and mature ideas would be revealed to them in that process of seeking wisdom and truth. On the surface of it this is a story about the way that we hold our financial wealth and the relatively greater willingness to trust God with it that was held by the poor woman as opposed to those who we assume to be the far wealthier men that made up the group of Jewish religious leaders that were questioning Jesus.

Yet, I wonder if Jesus isn’t talking about something even more difficult to surrender than our money? We know that it was necessary in the world where Jesus lived to have some sort of income in order to live, and the same is even more true today, but there are other things that we hold, possess, and strive for that make up the full package of what we might consider to be necessities of life. These include our educations, homes, jobs, status in society, national identity, religious affiliations, and many other points of connection to our world that all work together to define who we are and to establish what we are worth in our culture. Perhaps there are aspects of all of this that we are holding onto tightly and so making only those show offerings of our deeper selves to the Lord while grasping with all of our might to what we consider to be essential for life?

Christ desires for us to trust Him to the point of fully emptying our pockets, wallets, purses, and vaults of everything that we might determine to be important or essential for us to live a meaningful and fulfilled life. He wants us to be widow-like in turning over tomorrow to God so that what we have and thus where we go are guided fully by His will and are provided by His hands of loving grace, mercy, and wisdom. We may think that we have a good plan for how we will live out our time on earth and even for the manner in which that plan will fulfill a calling that has come from the Lord. However, we just might be wrong, or God may have something far more significant to the purposes of His kingdom in mind for us. If we hold on rigidly out of our own strength and understanding to our plans and goals, we just might not be open to God’s greater plan. You see, the widow in this story was infinitely rich in spirit and in her relationship with the Lord, and we can be like her in these ways as well when we turn over every aspect of our lives to Him and trust in God’s goodness and grace to provide all that we will need to live today in the center of His will.