Luke 21:3 “I assure you,” he said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them.”
I knew a lady who wandered the streets of our city for three years. She pushed a grocery cart everywhere she went and always slept sitting up in a trolley depot. Any passerby likely counted her a true “charity case” worthy of alms. It’s too easy to see the poor as readied recipients rather than potential contributors. But If we understood what moves God to do great things, we might see, in a new light, the magnificence of what the poor have to offer.
It’s true that input drives output. But is it about quantity or quality?
In any organization, there are calculations associated with input and output. A businessman monitors the quantity of input versus quantity of output. It’s a comparison of dollars invested to potential revenue; dollars received. Quality is also important. The quality of input-material determines the quality of the output-product. In short, greater quantity yields greater quantity and better quality yields better quality.
Although this is how manufacturing works, it’s not how life works. You’d probably agree that the greatest output in life is the accomplishment of God’s will and that God’s will is, of course, accomplished by God.
So what’s your part? If output is His, our part must be on the input side.
Is it like manufacturing? The more input you contribute, the more of His output you will see? Sounds like an assembly line! What about quality? Surely the quality of God’s output is not dependent on the quality of your input. If it were, then His ability and quality would be limited by our imperfections!
What we learn in this one verse about the poor widow who gives only 2 coins, but “gave more than all the rest” is that the quality of our input is related to the quantity of God’s output. Her input wasn’t an issue of quantity, but quality. She gave her all. That’s qualitative. It has no exact number that can be assigned. In this story, we’re given the quantity only so that we understand God can take a little and do a lot with it. Jesus said she put in more than all the rest. This means that whatever activity God wanted done with the money in the treasury that day, more of it was accomplished because of the widow’s contribution than anyone else’s. He isn’t interested in the quantity of your input. He’s interested in the quality because He is the only one who performs the miracle of translating input quality to output quantity.
A few fish and loaves fed a multitude. A seed of faith can move a mountain. Fervent, effectual prayer accomplishes much. The Bible is populated with examples that teach us this one lesson: The quality of our input is what counts.
It may seem strange, but I think God wants us to look, with faith, at the little we have and consider ourselves rich with potential. Concerning the poor, we should consider no less. It doesn’t matter if we’re rich, poor or even how much we accomplish or how frequently we fall short. What matters is the true heart behind the effort of the offering. He’ll accomplish the rest.