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2011 June 20



Child's closed hand

I’m from Texas where the national motto is “Everything’s bigger in Texas.”  Perhaps that’s why our family was so amused when my young cousin made a special request at the dinner table a few years ago.  As we were nearing the end of a holiday feast, she asked for some butter.  Perplexed, we looked around the table.  All of the bread had been eaten, and we couldn’t readily spot any other food that would use butter on it.  Her dad gently said, “Sweetie, there’s nothing to put butter on.” With an air of certainty that only a 3-year-old could possess, she held out a tightly clenched fist.   He carefully pried her fingers open to reveal the smallest morsel of bread visible to the human eye while she confidently said, “I need teeny-weeny butter for my bread!”

You don’t have to be from Texas to believe that more is better than less, bigger wins over smaller and gigantic far exceeds “teeny weeny”!  We use size to impress others.  In fact, even Jesus’ disciples were impressed with more, bigger, and better.  One of his disciples tried to impress Jesus by pointing out the tremendous buildings of the temple and the massive stones in the walls.  Jesus must have shaken his head in disappointment. Just prior to this conversation, Jesus showed the disciples what truly impressed him, the sacrificial act of a poor widow.

We have the opportunity to learn from the widow, too.  Let’s take advantage of reading two different occurrences of this story in scripture: Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4.  I wonder if the widow ever knew the power of her story?

Here are your questions for today:

  1. Contrast the gifts of the crowds with the gift of the widow.  How did they differ in amount?  In proportion to what they had? Which measure did Jesus use in evaluating the gifts?
  2. We don’t know the widow’s story.  But let’s role-play for a moment.  What do you think she could have been thinking as she gave the gift? How did her attitudes and actions lead to a “rich and satisfying life”?
  3. How could these verses apply to your current situation?
  4. What one thing will you do different as a result of our study today?

Sometimes it’s easier to share sacrificial giving stories from others rather than from ourselves.  Do you know a story you can share with us?  Please share it here.

[Image by Nina Matthews Photography on, licensed under Creative Commons]


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