…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14

A widow’s mite, .. an old woman’s bowl & chopsticks .. an old man’s £2 — faith & faithfulness

One day, at the temple, Jesus was teaching the people about the ways of the religious leaders, and their pursuit of honor and glory for themselves … bringing spotlight on themselves … for they loved human praise, more than praise from God. (John 12:43 NIV)

Luke 20:45-47 (NIV)
45 While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 47 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers.
These men will be punished most severely.”

Just then,

… a silent, … quiet, … humble, … insignificant  act

… caught Jesus’ eye …

Luke 21:1-4 (NIV)
As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.
He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.“Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

woman mite

A poor widow …
… gave her precious mite (2 very small copper coins).

She quickly slipped her two small coins inconspicuously …. and quietly disappeared into the temple crowd.
Unknown, un-announced, anonymous.

Everyday, hundreds of people would have dropped their gifts into the temple treasury … but that particular day, … for a brief moment … something uniquely different happened,

Jesus said … she has put in more than all the others.
… she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

The top giver ever!


no plaque, no bust, no ‘thank you’  

Being poor, … &  widow,small coins
she had no lengthy prayers
… no flowing robes, no greetings of respect,
no important seats, or places of honor (Luke 20:46, 47)

Like her tiny coins … others hardly noticed her …
sadly, sometimes we too, see through poor people,
as if they’re not there … & we hardly greet them.

But, …
Jesus spotted her!

Jesus saw her heart!

Jesus commended her love & sacrifice!

he said, “this poor widow …
Jesus pointed her out to his listeners.

While others gave out of their abundance, wealth,
… this nameless widow gave out of her need,
her utmost best, … her love and devotion to the Lord,
from her heart.

The widow’s quiet split-second action,
was captured permanently in an unforgettable commendation by Jesus forever,

Her split-second action spoke more boldly, … more memorably, more persuasively,
than many long sermons by the teachers of the law.

Not what she knew about the Bible, temple etc,
… but how much she loved God.

While others saw the magnificent gifts,
Jesus saw the magnanimous heart of the widow,
 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:34)

While others received praise from men for their great gifts,
this poor widow received praise from the Lord for her tiny gift.

James 2:5 (NIV)
Listen, my dear brothers and sisters:
Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world
to be rich in faith
and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

The rich gave their gifts out of their wealth (surplus). 
By faith, the widow out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.  (Luke 21:4)

4 … They gave only what they did not need.
This woman is very poor, but she gave all she had to live on.
Luke 21:3,4 (NCV)

The others gave only what they did not need,
the poor widow’s gift was a sacrifice.

Two small copper coins may be tiny for the wealthy,
for the widow it was 100% of what she had.
Through her generous giving, the widow is rich in faith … she’s counting on God to sustain and provide her.
Now a true widow, a woman who is truly alone in this world, has placed her hope in God. She prays night and day, asking God for his help.  (1 Timothy 5:5 NLT)

To the Lord,
no gift is too tiny … its all about our hearts,
the gratefulness of our hearts.

… for God sees not as man sees,
for man looks at the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7 (NASB)

For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth
that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.
2 Chronicles 16:9 (NASB)

Her gift, though tiny in man’s eyes, … was great in God’s eyes,
… her heart worship
…. her sacrifice
… her expression of  faith and trust in the Lord our provider, Jehovah Jireh.

2 small copper coins … little value to others,
but, … valuable to the poor widow, all she had to live on
precious to the Lord

David said, I will not sacrifice to the Lord
… offerings that cost me nothing.”

1 Samuel 24:23,24
23 “Your Majesty, Araunah gives all this to the king.” Araunah also said to him, “May the Lord your God accept you.”

24 But the king (David) replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them.
25 David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings.

Then the Lord answered his prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.

There’s something else remarkable about the widow’s giving.
Long before life insurance,
… the law of Moses has provisions for widows like her
to receive financial help from the temple treasury.

Deuteronomy 28:28,29 (NIV)
28 At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, 29 so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

(see also 1 Timothy 5:2-16)

Though she had the right to receive/take from the temple treasury,
she gave.

In spite of her circumstances,
and rather than not give at all,
this widow chose to give unto the Lord all she had;
a giving lifestyle — a worship giver.

She certainly brought amazement to the the crowd who heard Jesus that day.

On another note,
we understand from the gospels … that at that time, the religious leaders of the temple were less than honorable. (see Matthew 23).   As the leadership of the temple, they were also the ones who managed the affairs and finances of the temple.

For the widow, her focus was solely to give unto the Lord her worship, … not unto man, or church/ministry leaders … so that your giving may be in secret.
Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:4 NIV)

Earlier, before the account of the widow’s giving,
in a previous chapter in Luke’s gospel,

Luke 19:45-48 (NIV)
45 When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling.
46 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’;but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
47 Every day he was teaching at the temple.

But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders
among the people were trying to kill him.

48 Yet they could not find any way to do it,
because all the people hung on his words.

The spiritual state of the temple was less than desired … people selling stuff & profiting, … teachers of the law and leaders trying to kill Jesus.
The Messiah they have been waiting for …
was now in their midst,
but they missed Him totally.

all the people hung on his words
Thankfully, there were others who came to the temple to seek the Lord and His word. 

… like this widow who gave all she had in the temple,
in any ministry or church or congregation or whatever group,
… there’s a remnant of anonymous, quiet, sincere & faithful believers whose eyes are on the Lord, trusting and loving Him. (not unto men or leaders, but unto the Lord)
… unnoticed by others, … loved by Him.

And like this widow who was commended by Jesus, .
.. Jesus personally knows each faithful one by name,
& they will receive their just reward from the Lord himself, …

‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’ (Matthew 25:21 NIV)

Let’s remember … only the Lord can see each individual’s heart.
Hence, let’s not be too quick to pass off judgment or make sweeping generalizations or write-offs about others, … especially folks we don’t personally know.

On a separate note, … perhaps, …. there are times after serving or giving or ministering our utmost … we may feel un-appreciated or taken for granted .
In such times, let us be encouraged by this widow, as she expressed her sincere love for the Lord. … Though she gave secretly, sacrificially with the little she had, … Jesus was mindful of her, and commended her.

Hebrews 6:10 (NIV)
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

On another note, … perhaps there may be some quiet, unassuming, low profile brethren in our midst who have sincere love, faithfulness and devotion for Jesus, … just like this nameless poor widow, … waiting for us to discover, and be inspired by their faith and experiences.
Like this widow … we’ll be surprised who we find.

James 2:5 (NASB)
Listen,my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

2 Corinthians 8:1-2 (ESV)
 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.

… how about the widow’s own needs?

Early in His ministry, Jesus commended another widow’s faith,

Luke 4:25,26 (NIV)
25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 

In a severe famine, Elijah was sent to a widow at Zarephath who gave all she had to live on.  The Lord sustained her, her son and Elijah through the long famine by their faith obedience to the Lord’s word.
By the way, the widow was a Gentile.

1 Kings 17:12, 15,16 (NIV)
she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. …”

15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.

Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, commending them for their generous support,

Philippians 4:15-20 (NASB)
15 You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone;

16 for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. 17 Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. 18 But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.

19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Here’s an unforgettable story of giving … which happened in the midst of an economic crisis …

When our present church was being built in 1973, the dollar was devalued. This caused the Korean won (which is tied in value to the American dollar) to suffer, and we entered into a deep recession. Then, the oil crisis hit us, worsening our already fragile economy. Our people lost their jobs, and our income went down.

Having signed contracts with the construction company, and experiencing an unprecedented increase in building costs, I suffered greatly, seeing the possibility of a financial collapse. Despondently, I sat in my unfinished church building, wishing the still bare rafters would just fall on me.

During this crucial time in my ministry, a group from our church went to the property and started building a place to pray, mainly for their suffering pastor. Although I saw the need for this in our church, my concern was the added expenses that kept piling up on my desk.

Seeing that only a miraculous intervention of God would deliver us from a catastrophe, I joined the intercessors at Prayer Mountain. One evening while we were meeting to pray on the ground floor of our unfinished church, several hundred joined me in prayer. An old woman walked slowly in my direction. As she approached the platform, I noticed that tears were filling her eyes. She bowed and said, “Pastor, I want to give these items to you so that you may sell them for a few pennies to help with our building fund.”

I looked down, and in her hands were an old rice bowl and a pair of chopsticks. I said to her, “Sister, I can’t take these necessities from you!”

“But, Pastor, I am an old woman. I have nothing of value to give to my Lord; yet, Jesus has graciously saved me. These items are the only things in the world I possess!” she exclaimed, tears now flowing freely down her wrinkled cheeks. “You must let me give these to Jesus. I can place my rice on old newspapers, and I can use my hands to feed myself. I know that I will die soon, so I don’t want to meet Jesus without giving Him something on this earth.” As she finished speaking, everyone there began to weep openly. The Holy Spirit’s presence filled the place, and we all began to pray in the Spirit.

A businessman in the back of the group was deeply moved and said, “Pastor Cho, I want to buy that rice bowl and chopsticks for one thousand dollars!” With that, everyone started to pledge their possessions. My wife and I sold our small home and gave the money to the church.  This spirit of giving saved us from financial ruin.

Source:  David Yonggi Cho, Prayer that brings Revival, Interceding for God to move in our Family, Church and Community, Creation House, 1998, pg 121-123

And God is able
to make all grace abound to you,
so that in all things
at all times,

having all that you need,
you will abound in every good work. 
(2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV)

One of my favorite verses, I call it the ‘all-abounding‘ verse 🙂

“God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.”
— Hudson Taylor

“Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible.
There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible.
Faith begins where man’s power ends.”
— George Muller

A testimony of God’s faithfulness from a faith missions organisation, WEC International,

During my years in the finance office, there was rarely any money “left over” from the general fund for the next month.  At that time we needed at least £30,000 each month toward the support of our overseas workers alone.  The home staff trusted God personally for their own support.  Only once in twenty years did we need to drop the overseas allocations by five pounds per person, and we were able to send that same amount as extra the following month.

… One elderly man had sent £2  twice a month for many years.
When he died, out of curiosity we added up his gifts — they came to over £1000, a sum he probably never had at any one time in his life.

Often the end of the month was a cliffhanger experience as only after the final bank statements and post had arrived for the close of business would we know the final results.  For that reason, in those days the finance committee met on the first day of each month.  On one such occasion, a Friday, we were £13,000 short!  What could we do?  We talked and prayed and agonized.  Then Pauline Nicholas, who with with her husband Colin was UK director, said she felt strongly we should meet again on Monday.  Guess what?  The first envelope opened by Colin in the UK office on Monday morning contained a check for £13,000.
God had done it again.

— Jenny Carter

Source:  Beyond the Edge, Evan Davies, WEC International, CLC Publications, 2012, pg 115,116.

The elderly man gave faithfully …  for many years.

He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much
Luke 16:10 (NASB)

The last bag of rice – Hudson Taylor, missionary to China (1800s):

At length one morning Kuei-hua the cook appeared with serious news for his master. The very last bag of rice had been opened, and was disappearing rapidly.

“Then,” replied Hudson Taylor, “the Lord’s time for helping us must be close at hand.”

And so it proved. For before that bag of rice was finished a letter reached the young missionary that was among the most remarkable he ever received.

It was from Mr. Berger, and contained a check for fifty pounds, like others that had come before. Only in this case the letter went on to say that a heavy burden had come upon the writer, the burden of wealth to use for God. Mr. Berger’s father had recently passed away, leaving him a considerable increase of fortune. The son did not wish to enlarge his personal expenditure. He had had enough before and was now praying to be guided as to the Lord’s purpose in what had taken place. Could his friends in China help him? The draft enclosed was for immediate needs, and would they write fully, after praying over the matter, if there were ways in which they could profitably use more.

Fifty pounds! There it lay on the table; and his far-off friend, knowing nothing about that last bag of rice or the many needs of the hospital, actually asked if he might send them more. No wonder Hudson Taylor was overwhelmed with thankfulness and awe. Suppose he had held back from taking charge of the hospital on account of lack of means, or lack of faith rather? Lack of faith — with such promises and such a God!
Source: H. Taylor, G. Taylor, Hudson Taylor Spiritual Secret, Moody Press, 1932, pg 66.

In the Old Testament, King David and the leaders set a generous example in giving to the building of the temple … hence, inspiring the rest of the people to also give wholeheartedly, joyfully.

1 Chronicles 29: (NIV)
 Then King David said to the whole assembly: “ … With all my resources I have provided for the temple of my God … 5 Now, who is willing to consecrate themselves to the Lord today?”

Then the leaders of families … gave willingly. They gave toward the work on the temple of God

The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly.

In the early church, the believers gave to relieve the believers in Judea.  Here’s the example of the Macedonian churches in giving, as described by Paul,

2 Corinthians 8:1-7 (NIV)
And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations:

They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part.

Paul’s exhortation to us all,

But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

If we are not faithful, he will still be faithful, because he must be true to who he is.
2 Timothy 2:13 (NCV)

Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
1 Thessalonians 5:24 (NASB)

Here’s 3 Bible stories of the Lord multiplying the little we have
… as we give into His miraculous hands,
He is our faithful provider.

John 6:8-13 (NIV)  Feeding of the 5000 and a boy’s offering of 5 small barley loaves and 2 small fishes
Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish

but how far will they go among so many?”

Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

1 Kings 17:12, 15,16 (NIV)  Elijah and the widow
she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. …”

15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.

2 Kings 4:2-7 (NIV)  Elisha and the widow 
Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”
“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”
Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”

She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”

But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.

She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”


  Faith | Serving Quietly

by 林弟兄, bro Lim
April 15, 2015

Copyright © 林弟兄 bro Lim, Laymanointing, 2014-2016 – All Rights Reserved
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This entry was posted on April 15, 2015 by in Daily Rice, Faith, Faith & Prayer, Giving, Life Stories, Ministry, Serving Quietly and tagged .
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