The Widow and Mite

The story of the widow’s mite is often used to drum up generosity at the annual church meeting.  We should all give in the self-sacrificial way that she did.  There may be some truth to that, but that is not the main thrust of her story.  She is used as an illustration of Pharisees dwvouring all that widows have.  If we ignore the way that the chapters have been divided and look at the story in context we see that the previous section has been a war of words between Jesus and the Jewish authorities.  Here Jesus is speaking to everyone about the Jewish rulers of his time and he sees how they strip widows of everything they have.  I do think that ur hearts should be the same as the widow, but the thrust is that we should be wary of in any way supporting corrupt religious authorities who use their power to take money from the poor.

Luke 20:45-21:4

45 While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 47 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”

1 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”


  1. What do teachers of the law love?
  2. What do the teachers of the law devour?
  3. What does the widow give according to Jesus?
  4. In your opinion, does Jesus condemn the teachers of the law, commend the widow, both, or neither?
  5. How is your attitude distinct from the widow and the teachers of the law?  How should it be modified?

Going Deeper  Is this pastor telling the truth about gaining wealth?  How do you know?


About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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