The Widow's Mite

Theme: It isn't the size of the gift that matters. Proper 27/Ordinary 32 Year B
Object: A small coin purse with fifty-seven cents in it.
Scripture: Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on." Mark 12:43-44 (NIV)

Each Sunday in our worship service we take an offering. Do you think Jesus is interested in how much money we put in the offering plate?

The Bible says that one day, Jesus went to the temple and sat down near the place where the offerings were placed. He sat and watched the people as they came by and put in their offerings. Many rich people, dressed in fine robes, came by and put in a lot of money. Then, a poor widow came by and put in two small copper coins that weren't even worth a penny.

Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "This woman has given more than anyone. The others gave out of their wealth, but this woman gave all that she had." You see, Jesus is more interested in what is in the heart of the giver than he is in the size of their gift.

I have a small coin purse. Let's see how much money is in it. Hmm...fifty-seven cents. Well, that isn't much money, but this morning I want to tell you the story of a little girl named Hattie and how her gift of fifty-seven cents helped to build a great church.

One Sunday morning, the pastor of a church went outside to find a group of children who were unable to get in to go to Sunday School because the building was too crowded. One of those children was a six year-old named Hattie. When the pastor saw her, he lifted her up in his arms, put her up on his shoulder, and carried her into the church where he found a place for her to sit in the Sunday School class.

The next morning as he walked to church, the pastor saw Hattie again and stopped to talk to her. He told her that he hoped that some day the church would be able to build a building that was large enough so that there would be room for all the children who wanted to attend.

Two years later, little Hattie died and the pastor was asked to preach the funeral service. After the service, Hattie's mother handed the pastor a small purse containing fifty-seven cents. She told him that Hattie had been saving her pennies to help the church build a new Sunday School building. The pastor took the fifty-seven cents back to his church and told the people about the little girl who had been saving her pennies to help them build a new Sunday School building. The people were so inspired by Hattie's gift, that they gave faithfully until they built a wonderful new building with plenty of room for all of the children who wanted to attend.

I am sure that Jesus would say that Hattie gave more than anyone to build this great church. She gave all that she had.

Dear Father, everything we have is a gift from you. Help us to remember that we should give back to you with a cheerful heart.  In Jesus' name we pray.  Amen.

Note: The story of Hattie Wiatt is taken from on a sermon by Russell H. Conwell delivered December 1, 1912. Click here to read the entire sermon on Temple University's web site.

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