St. Mark gives us two vignettes in his gospel, each of which makes the same important point for every Christian: God is pleased with what we do for Him when it is all we can do.
The first is of the widow who placed her penny into the Temple treasury. Here is what Jesus thought of that offering: “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44)
A few chapters later, Mark relates another story, this one about a woman with a jar of very expensive ointment. It is likely she’d been saving it for her dowry – if she’d ever marry. She chose instead, according to the custom of the day, to pour it over Jesus’ head as an expression of love.
When some objected to her ‘waste’, Jesus responded: “Let her alone; why do you bother her . . . . She has done what she could (Mark 14:6-8).
Do you see the common theme in these two stories? It’s not at all about how much we place in the offering basket. It’s about doing what we can do, even if what we can do is not a lot in the eyes of others.
It’s about the heart – and who owns it.