When we think of a “mite” we usually think of those tiny , little bugs or ticks that are a nuisance and aggravate allergies. In the gospel , a “mite” is the smallest exchange of money , perhaps a half of a cent. Like the insect we usually think of, a mite is tiny and imperceptible to the senses.
Jesus is in the Temple and he notices a woman identified as a widow dropping two copper coins – mite- into the offering. The others had much larger coins ,worth much more , that most certainly caused a large clanking sound when thrown into the receptacle for the donation. Everyone would have heard and noticed the donor and donation. The widow’s two tiny coins would never be heard, at least in any obvious manner, amidst the noise of the other coins worth so much more. She and her few cents would never cause anyone to take notice…except one Person.
Jesus points out this unnamed widow as one who gave from her want and need:, she gave it all. Jesus teaches us that we need to emulate this poor woman who was very vulnerable and absolutely powerless in her culture. Material comforts and security were clearly not something she worried about, for she put the needs of others ahead of her own.
Our God is one who wants it all or at least he wants all of us. This God wants us to trust in his love and care for us, a trust that runs so deep that we can live a life of selfless giving. Being a follower of Jesus means just that: living so that others can have life. In living this way, life is given back to us a hundred fold.
The question that haunts me: am I doing EVERYTHING I possibly can to materially help those in need? The answer is “no” and that gospel widow gently nudges my conscience.