days, in our temples and churches, it is quite
common for people to try to ‘buy’
merit, not aware that merit cannot be bought
or sold, but must be earned in other ways.
while Jesus was with his disciples in the Temple,
they observed rich people donating large sums
of money; they also saw a poor widow donate
two small coins, and Jesus said: "I tell
you truly, this widow, although poor, has given
more than all the others, for they all gave
out of their surplus, while she gave all she
days, there was no such thing as Social Security
for the aged and disabled, and life was hard;
people had to pay their way, and the necessities
of life were sold and bought then as now. Religion
was a thing of commerce in those days, too,
and the priests exhorted people to make offerings
to the Temple and accumulate merit thereby.
Now, this widow surely knew that her coins were
of little value in the market; did she think
they would have more value in the Temple? Jesus
said nothing about the motive behind her offering.
If she’d had only—let us say—
$20 to her name, and had offered half, or even
a quarter of it, it would have been a real sacrifice
for her; but to offer something that was of
no use anyway, would have been no sacrifice
we give something, it should be of value to
us, and not something that we don’t need
or want any longer.