Understanding the Bible Story of the Widow's Mite

Mark Gordon BrownStarred Page By Mark Gordon Brown, 8th Sep 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Religion

Is the intention and thought behind a gift more important than the gift itself? I examine this question by using a Bible story. This article is not of a religious nature, however the story is being used here to illustrate a point.

The Widow's Mite

The Christian story of the Widow’s Mite, has been a part of my personal consciousness since I can remember. It, along with other more obscure tales from various belief systems, are what have lead me to the understanding that, all gifts are equal if given with a pure heart. As such this article is not intended to be a forum for debate about the theological meaning of the tale of The Widow’s Mite. I have used it because this tale is simply the most known, of the works that have lead me to this belief, and how we all should act, on a mental level, in regards to the gifts that others choose to give. Therefore, when commenting about this article please stick to the main focus of the article, and leave debates, about the theological meaning of the tale of The Widow’s Mite, for other places, where that is actually being debated.

The actual story, of The Widow’s Mite, is in The New Testament, in Mark 12:38-44 and Luke 20:45-47,21:1-4. In the tale of the Widow’s Mite, wealthy people donate large sums of money but Jesus makes his disciples take note of a woman who only gave a two mites, a small amount of money, similar to the value of a penny is today. He tells his followers that her gift is so great because it was all of the money the lady had. He says that her donation was better than the larger donations made by the wealthy people.

How the Story is Used

The story has been used to tell people they should live in poverty, said to be a condemnation of Pharisees, Jewish Priests, and also claimed by some to be way of condoning Anti-Semitism. Still other unscrupulous people have used this story to get people to donate more than they could afford, to a church or charity.

I am not going to lay that trip on you and tell you to give up everything to help out other people or organizations. I could just throw the whole story out as being offensive to me if I take it at face value. A poor women, giving her last two mites, to a temple full of wealthy priests, is not something I generally view as a good thing.

The Message I Get

I get a different message from this story. The message I get is that this person gave with a pure heart. In the story, others around her were giving large sums of money, at least that is implied. It is also implied that maybe those who gave the larger sums really did not want to give what they were giving. The Widow, however actually wanted to give. Her gift was given with a pure heart. With an intention of really wanting to give. It seemed as if Jesus’ disciples were ready to make a negative judgment on her gift, however he stopped them and let them know the whole story, explaining to them the pure intention in her heart.

Think About It

At this point I will go beyond the teachings of most religions in regards to what I feel merits a gift being given with a pure heart. To me a gift given with a pure heart is one that a person actually wants to give. Not a gift given to “lay up treasures in heaven”, or “get good karma”. In my opinion, all of those reasons are self serving. I often wonder why religions lay that trip on people.

Maybe the sages of centuries past did not realize how pathetically selfish those reasons sounded, when they suggested them to their followers, or maybe it was just a way to get folks to give up their wealth to those same sages. As such, I am not suggesting that you examine your own reasons, for giving gifts of any kind, in order to see if your intention is pure. That would be futile and leave you never giving with a pure heart. You can not give with a pure heart, if you have conscious thought about your reason for giving a gift. If you give with a pure heart, you just give the gift and do not think about the reason you are giving it.

In writing this article, I am not actually concerned with your personal reasons for giving the gifts you give, or if you give any gifts. That is your business, not mine or that of anyone else. What I am concerned with, is something that does affect everyone, that is the way in which people view the gifts that other people give. Many people are either blown away by a large gift, or disgusted at a small gift. Some make judgments on the gifts other give without knowing the full story, or the intention in the heart of the giver. The negative energy that is created by this mind set is almost pathogenic to our collective unconsciousness.

The very act of passing judgment on the gifts another chooses to give actually causes an energy that is toxic, and when those thoughts are put into words they create even more negative energy. This way of thinking has to go. What I am trying to do, in my own mind and life, is to not be concerned with what others do in regards to gift giving. At times, I may fail at this, yet I believe that if we all stop making judgments about the size of the gifts, people give in earnest, the world will be a much better place. There are so many other problems in the world that adding to them, by getting bent out of shape at the size of a gift someone else gives another person, or organization, or even if they give a gift at all, is ridiculous.

Ultimately, if gifts are truly given with a pure heart, no one but the giver, and possibly the receiver, would know who gave them. The negative energy that is generated, by all of those who piss and moan, about the size of gifts other people give, or if others give at all, is such a dangerous thing that needs to stop.


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Article (by me) Originally Published at Socyberty.

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About, Bible, Christian, Compare, Generous, Gift, Heart, Jesus, Poverty, Story, Wealth, Widows Mite

Meet the author

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
Raised in Michigan, I have a son who recently joined the Military. I am living in Canada with my wife where we have a hobby farm.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
8th Sep 2013 (#)

Marc, your point is well taken. Thank you for sharing this story

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author avatar madugundurukmini
8th Sep 2013 (#)

holy story

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
8th Sep 2013 (#)

yes Mark there is much wrongness in the world....

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author avatar Connie McKinney
8th Sep 2013 (#)

Good points, Mark. Whatever happened to: it's the thought that counts?

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author avatar Rania, Jamie & Reni
8th Sep 2013 (#)

An excellent article indeed, Mark!

Thank you for putting this topic into a perspective everyone should take careful note of!

Rania and Jamie

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author avatar Jerry Walch
8th Sep 2013 (#)

An interesting read, Mark.

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author avatar Retired
10th Sep 2013 (#)

Exciting article. Mark.

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author avatar writestuff
10th Sep 2013 (#)

Good article. Interesting and thought provoking article. Thanks for sharing your unique insight.

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author avatar deepa venkitesh
11th Sep 2013 (#)

food for thought, In the times of Jesus, it may have been right for the larger good, but now priests are more or less you know what.. better left unsaid

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author avatar Mariah
19th Sep 2013 (#)

Well written Mark.
The way I personally see it is
that I treasure the home made
birthday cards, mothers day cards, drawings etc.. that I've received from my kids, and will always treasure them, much more, than if they both became millionaires and bought me diamonds, because they came from their hearts and that makes them priceless.
I treasure gifts of poems I have been given by friends, so much more than any material gifts
I see and completely agree with where you are coming from.

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author avatar Grumpybear
20th Sep 2013 (#)

I understood what you were talking about. For several years I couldn't afford to get my mother very much, so I would buy her a package of panties. It wasn't much but for years I knew that she didn't wear any because she didn't have any to wear. And whether she knew it, I don't know, but I knew that it was given with the purest of intentions. Out of love I would give her what she needed. Later after I worked a little taking care of older ladies, I was able to buy her other things but I never forgot that when I came to visit I tried to have some little something, even if it was just a dollar. Some of the things were expensive others just a dollar, but she took enjoyment out the things that I brought. No matter when I couldn't afford very much or when I could afford an expensive one. I can't take care of people now, but those few years she lived last I could and did. :)

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author avatar Mariah
20th Sep 2013 (#)

That's lovely Rose

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author avatar joyalariwo
30th Oct 2013 (#)

Behind every gift, no matter how big or small, its the tots behind the giving that matters.
Insightfully thought provoking article Mark, thanks 4sharing.

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author avatar Legend
6th Dec 2013 (#)

Truly, giving with a pure heart is the best giving. When you give you get and when you give purely you surely give the most!

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