It made no sense for a widow to donate her last few coins to corrupt religious leaders who were dependent on those gifts, yet “devour[ed] widows’ houses” (Mark 12:40). However, in that woman’s act, Jesus saw a moving display of the proper attitude towards money (vv.41-44).

Gordon Cosby, while serving as a pastor, talked about a widow whose income was barely enough to feed and clothe her six children. Yet every week she faithfully placed money in the offering plate. A deacon suggested that Cosby go to her and assure her that she could use the money instead for her family’s benefit.

Cosby followed the deacon’s advice—to his regret. “You are trying to take away the last thing that gives me dignity and meaning,” she said. She had learnt a key to giving: it can benefit the giver more than the receiver. Yes, those in poverty need financial help. But the need to give may be as important as the need to receive.

The act of giving reminds us that we live by the grace of God—like the birds and the flowers. Those creations don’t worry about their future; neither should we. Giving offers us a way to express our confidence that God will care for us just as He cares for the sparrow and lily (Matt. 6:25-34).

We disarm the power of money by giving it away.


Philip Yancey


Our Daily Bread