We are tempted to consider the value of the widow’s contribution based on strictly economic proportions. An important lesson here is that God does not care how much humans value money. The varying degrees of material wealth do not determine the stature of a man or a woman in the eyes of God. God sees money very differently than we do – we should try to gain God’s perspective on money and on giving so that we may become wise. If the intention of the giver is selfless, that is the true worth as God sees it. One can give a large amount greedily, selfishly, and begrudgingly. This giving is not worth much in God’s eyes. God, as it says in the scripture, “Loves a cheerful giver.” The everything that the widow put into her gift was not two pennies – she could very well have contributed those two pennies saying to herself, “well, it isn’t that much to lose anyway.” God wasn’t even pleased by the fact that this was the last of her material wealth. God is pleased that she disregards the selfish human importance placed on material wealth – He is pleased that she is ready to be dispensed with it for the sake of God and her neighbor.
Wealth isn’t evil, it is our clinging to it and relying upon it that is evil.
THEODORE OF MOPSUESTIA:
“Reprove” applies to those who persist in their sin, that they might be led to understand it as sin. “Rebuke” is aimed at those actually engaging in sin. “Exhort” is directed to those who might be led back to their former state after penitence.1
He gave similar instructions to his disciple also, saying, “Reprove, exhort, rebuke,” two stern words and one gentle, but stern only that he might soften them. To bodies sick with excess of gall, bitter food and drink taste sweet and, on the other hand, sweet dishes taste bitter. Similarly when the mind is wounded, it sickens under the attentions of an unctuous flattery and is again tempered by the bitterness of correction.2
Therefore, let food, and bathing, and banqueting, and the other necessities of life have a definite time. But let instruction about the love of truth from above have no set hour—let all the time belong to it. “In season, out of season, reprove, entreat, rebuke,” Scripture says. And the prophet, “On his law he will meditate day and night.” And Moses too asked the Jews to do this continually.3
GREGORY OF NAZIANZUS:
For there are certain persons who have not only their ears and their tongues but even, as I now perceive, their hands too, itching for words. They delight in profane babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called, and strifes about words, which tend to no profit. Paul is the preacher and establisher of the “Word cut short.” The teacher of the fishermen calls to question all that is excessive or superfluous in discourse.4
HILARY OF POITIERS:
When they will no longer endure sound doctrine in their eagerness for godlessness, they will gather teachers together for these things which they desire. They will compile a doctrine that fits in with their desires, since they are no longer eager to be taught. They want to bring together teachers for that which they already desire in order that this large number of teachers whom they have sought and assembled may satisfy the doctrines of their own passionate desires.5
When the widow put into the collection box only two small coins, the master did not give her a recompense worth only two coins. Why was that? Because he paid no attention to the amount of the money. What he did heed was the wealth of her soul. If you calculate by the value of her money, her poverty is great. If you bring her intention into the light, you will see that her store of generosity defies description.6
- COMMENTARY ON 2 TIMOTHY. Gorday, P. (Ed.). (2000). Colossians, 1–2 Thessalonians, 1–2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon (p. 270). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- Letters 41.4. Gorday, P. (Ed.). (2000). Colossians, 1–2 Thessalonians, 1–2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon (p. 270). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- HOMILIES ON JOHN 18.4. Gorday, P. (Ed.). (2000). Colossians, 1–2 Thessalonians, 1–2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon (p. 271). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- Orations 27.1. Gorday, P. (Ed.). (2000). Colossians, 1–2 Thessalonians, 1–2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon (p. 272). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- On the Trinity 10.2. Gorday, P. (Ed.). (2000). Colossians, 1–2 Thessalonians, 1–2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon (p. 272). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- ON THE INCOMPREHENSIBLE NATURE OF GOD 6.12. Oden, T. C., & Hall, C. A. (Eds.). (1998). Mark (Revised) (p. 171). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.