Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. [Matthew 5:8 ESV]
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” [Luke 21:1-4 ESV]
Why is it the very young and the very old rest more completely in God’s loving grace than those in between? Perhaps the very young have yet to learn how to control and manipulate in a sophisticated manner. When a child hears an explanation they believe the person speaking. Children have to be trained to know the person speaking is telling a falsehood. They have to learn what is theirs and others. As they grow children know intuitively how to covet but have to learn what to covet.
And the very old, I think, have learned all they want which this world has to offer carries no true, eternal value. Or, they are just tired.
Jesus observed a widow giving “all she had to live on,” the equivalent of less than one percent of a day’s wages. Nowhere in Scripture does God demand an offering of everything one owns. Except when Jesus tells us when we follow Him we must carry our own cross. He sacrificed Himself for us and we are to sacrifice ourselves for Him. Was the widows gift a sacrifice?
Just previous to this small easily unseen story Luke records Jesus’ reaction to the attitude and motivations of the Pharisee’s.
Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation. [Luke 20:45-47 ESV]
“Devour widows’ houses.” God does not devour the needy. He may not supply what is wanted but He will take care of the needs of those who rely upon Him. Those needs may be physical but are certainly eternal. Still, we do not have the right to force our expectation on Him. We do have the privilege of trusting Him who is eternally trustworthy.
God intimately knows the heart. He knows the heart of this widow for, I assume, she is with Him for eternity. We cannot know her heart without making assumptions based on the evidence given.
She was unconcerned about how she was to continue to live from one day to the next. There was no worry, no planning for contingencies, no hoarding, certainly no care what any thought of her. Her focus was upon God knowing He would care for her daily needs and when He did not He was still God and would bring her home, into His presence, because her time in the world was ended.
This widow did not simply turn away from sin. She turned toward God. Nor did she simply stand still gazing at God. No one who sees Him can stand still. They must either turn away again or be drawn toward Him. All will fall on their knees at His feet. In a body bent by sin, in a world filled with the distractions of temptation, goaded on by a defeated enemy, it takes work and experience to remain focused upon the face of God.
At the moment of her giving her heart was tempered and purified by the fires of faith. God had revealed Himself to her in a way she could never explain but was more real and eternal than any of the hard experiences of her temporary life. She saw God and would see Him for eternity.
A sacrifice of obedience, when offered from a heart purified by God, is no sacrifice.