Biblical People

Biblical People: The Poor Widow and Her Offering

Jesus and his disciples stand near the temple as people come to give their money. They’re people watching. One poor woman drops two small copper coins into the temple treasury. Her offering is so small. Surely it will do no good, unlike the considerable gifts of all the others.

Jesus sees things differently. 

He pronounces her gift, though numerically small, as greater than everyone else’s. “She put in more than all of them.” Then Jesus explains. “They gave out of their abundance. She gave out of her poverty.” He pauses and looks at his followers. “It was all she had to live on.”

Imagine the penniless widow as she shuffles home. She just gave the last of her money to the church. What will she eat? How will she live? Perhaps giving her last few cents was an impulse that she now regrets. Or maybe it was an intentional sacrifice that’s still giving her joy. Regardless, what will tomorrow bring? 

We don’t know if God provides for her after she gives everything to him, but what we do know is that God doesn’t consider the size of the gift as much as the heart of the giver.

How does God look upon our gifts? Do we give from our abundance or our poverty?

[Discover more about the poor widow in Mark 12:41–44 and Luke 21:1–4.]

Learn about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in audiobook, e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at