Mark 12:41-44, The Widow’s Farthing
And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
//If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s that there is not one right way to interpret the stories of Jesus. There is a richness of ideas and lessons contained in these simple stories and parables that I never imagined.
Take this story of the woman who put everything she owned into the temple treasury. Traditionally, I may have appreciated her willingness to give, even to the last penny. What a trust in God she had!
But what if Jesus wasn’t pointing out her faithfulness? What if Jesus was highlighting the blood-sucking ways of the Temple system, and pointing her out as a victim?
Then the parable says this: “Don’t be like this poor victim. The religious system will leave you empty and broke. This system may work for the rich, but for the poor, it only leaves them more destitute.”
Why would we think this is what Jesus was saying? Read the story in context! Jesus had just issued a warning about the scribes and how they “devour widows’ houses.” Then he points to this poor widow as an example.