Jesus and the disciples were in Jerusalem and were in the Temple precincts and being from the countryside the disciples were nervous and shy about what to do, and how to conduct themselves there. They sat down opposite the temple treasury and were people watching. Maybe they were hoping to get some indication about how to walk, or bow, or pray in the Temple. In the precincts of this great House of God built by King David, every step was a prayer and even every breath.Jesus saw the deference that was being paid to the scribes “who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted obsequiously in the market squares, to take the front seats in synagogues and the places of honour at banquets...” He was warning the disciples not to become like them. Beware.
The treasury was a bit like an upside-down trumpet. And it made a noise when money was put into it. These were the days before paper-money and credit cards so the more money that went in, the bigger the boom it made, and the more attention it attracted. And those in charge would smile approvingly when someone would make a large donation. And so would everyone within earshot. What a great feeling to have the adulation of many within the Temple courtyard and indeed those in authority.
Jesus noticed that a poor widow woman had come along and had made her small donation to the treasury. It barely made a sound as she put it in. No eyebrows were raised here, this woman was invisible. Those in the city were too busy tipping a cap or turning and bowing to some priest with a prayer shawl, for the city was full of holy people. The poor widow just made her offering, and scurried on by. But Jesus saw what she did and he drew the attention of his disciples to her offering. “I tell you solemnly, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury.”She may have given small money but she gave such great love. No one saw her and what she did, no one noticed. She was used to that. But Jesus Christ saw her heart and told his disciples that this is contribution that God the Father wants.
Each of us are called to place an offering into the treasury and like the person who goes away into their private space and prays to their father in secret, God sees all that is done in secret and will reward those who give from their open and generous hearts.