The Unseen Present

Mark 12:41-44 “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.”

With the exception of an occasional blast of the trumpet calling attention to the gifts of the rich, life moved on without interruption. In a steady stream, the people flowed by casting money into the treasury. In most cases, little notice was given to the gift or the giver; especially a certain poor impoverished widow. Because of its minuteness, no attempt was necessary to hide its monitory worth. No one would notice the unseen present, but the unseen presence; Jesus, the divine spectator seated over against the treasury.

Jesus would take knowledge of its size. This impoverished widow “threw in two mites, which make a farthing.” A mite or lepta was a small copper coin. It is thought to be the smallest denomination of coin stuck by any nation in history. Its name comes from a word meaning pulled or stripper; it was about one sixty-fourth of the average daily wage. It was said that the worth was so insignificant that the priest generally did not even bother to count it.

Jesus would take knowledge of its source. Speaking of the gifts of the wealthy, Jesus said, “they did cast in of their abundance.” The word “abundance” has the idea to exceed, to be in excess or have to spare. With respect to the widow, Jesus said, “but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” The idea of “her want” means to fall short or be deficient so as to lack. While the wealthy were giving out of the overflow, the widow was giving out of the underflow! What is noteworthy is that she drained the source in its entirety, “all that she had”; this included funds necessary to sustain life. Some gave out of the abundance, she gave out the absence!

Jesus was not only aware of the size of her gift and the source of her gift; but greater still, the significance of her gift; the unseen present was the result of an unseen purpose! While “man looketh on the outward appearance . . . the LORD looketh on the heart” (I Samuel 16:7) and when Jesus looked on the heart of this “certain poor widow”, He saw the witness of her love and the worship of her Lord. Treasuring the object of her affection, she lifts Him high above self!

What others had failed to see, Jesus, the divine spectator saw! He saw the size of the gift, the source of the gift, but best of all; He saw the significance of the gift. He saw the unseen present of her heart!