The Unknown Giver
Editorial by Carlos Portanova
The Bible tells us the story of a woman whose name is not known. She is famous for giving everything she had, even though she was a widow, and widows were among the poorest of the land during that time. Her testimony tells us the meaning of true giving.
This widow had in her possession only two mites. If we translate that into today’s currency, two mites equals about a penny.
Ellen White expounds on the story:
“Jesus was in the court where were the treasure chests, and He watched those who came to deposit their gifts. Many of the rich brought large sums, which they presented with great ostentation. Jesus looked upon them sadly, but made no comment on their liberal offerings. Presently His countenance lighted as He saw a poor widow approach hesitatingly, as though fearful of being observed. As the rich and haughty swept by, to deposit their offerings, she shrank back as if hardly daring to venture farther. And yet she longed to do something, little though it might be, for the cause she loved. She looked at the gift in her hand. It was very small in comparison with the gifts of those around her, yet it was her all. Watching her opportunity, she hurriedly threw in her two mites, and turned to hasten away. But in doing this she caught the eye of Jesus, which was fastened earnestly upon her” (Counsels on Stewardship, p. 174).
What can we learn from this story? First, the Lord is more interested in how we give than the quantity. The most precious offerings come from the most loving and cheerful giver. Second, the widow gave two mites to sustain God’s temple. The Lord also calls us to sustain His church and His mission. Third, we need to learn to trust in the Lord. The widow from the story gave all she had and awaited the Lord’s promises. May the Lord help us to give as the widow gave and to trust in the Lord as she did.
Carlos Portanova serves as the treasurer of the New Jersey Conference.