“A poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.” — Mark 12:42
Jesus had a special place in his heart for widows and orphans. That’s not just because the Law of Moses commanded that they be protected, but because he himself is the God who loves them and commanded Israel to love them. Deuteronomy 10:17-19 says, “The LORD your God ... shows no partiality. . . . He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”
Israel was prone to forget that at one time they had been at the mercy of slave drivers, with no rights guaranteed by law. Even today it is possible to forget what it was like for our ancestors to be immigrants with a shaky knowledge of English. It was a godsend if there was someone who could sponsor them and help them get started in a new land.
Sociologist Matt Ridley says that we have made enormous strides through the centuries in broadening the base of prosperity. Yet Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you” (Matthew 26:11; see Deuteronomy 15:11). He said this not to encourage a defeatist, passive, pass-the-buck attitude. But, in spite of concerted efforts by communities and governments, the poor are always among us. And individual love and generosity will never be out of place.