A Meditation: On Luke 21:1-4 // Two Small Copper Coins //

by Matheus Yuhlung

“Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, ‘Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on’” – Luke 21: 1-4 (ESV)

I was raised in a very strict convent school; where apart from the conventional education we also had moral science classes; we were taught once a week. Moral education was a must; of which to this day I’m very grateful.

The teaching staffs had an attitude that emphasized a great deal on making gentlemen out of us boys; so the importance of having a good character was often taught over being rich.

The importance of having a pleasing aesthetic appeal was also often stretched. I never had long hairs or nails, my shirt was always tucked, pants ironed and shoes polished. Walking straight was always important, so was keeping hands at the back, saying excuse me, thank you, may I, madam and sir and et cetera and all those sorts that is required to be considered a person of good etiquette. Health was also an important topic too. We were often reminded of the phrase health is wealth.

Speaking of which, i.e. if health is wealth the rich man from the scripture above never really offered anything to God; his greatest treasure was still with him, safe. On the other hand, the widow gave up, every penny that she had (to keep her health); in doing so she entrusted the greatest wealth that a mortal can have in the hands of God (where it rightfully belonged).

This act of hers was not only an attestation of her complete faith in God but also a sight of much pleasure to Jesus himself as The Cambridge Commentators[i] wrote:

he looked up] The expression seems to shew that He was sitting with downcast eyes, saddened, perhaps, in His human spirit and agitated by the great Denunciation; but this last little incident is ‘like a rose amid a field of thistles,’—an act genuinely beautiful in the desert of ‘official devotion.’

I’m absolutely impressed by the widow’s understanding that her health and well being did not depended on having the two copper coins in her own hands but in God’s. To take this meditation a step further, I’d like to dwell on the symbolism of the two copper coins.

What can the two copper coins possibly mean? If not a sound body and soul; the best implication of which good health is. And so also it was the only thing the poor widow had (which she generously gave away); and so Matthew Henry[ii] wrote:

Blessed Lord! the poorest of thy servants have two mites, they have a soul and a body; persuade and enable us to offer both unto thee; how happy shall we be in thine accepting of them!

I’m always thankful for the moral educations that I’ve received from my teachers. But morality or good character or health or wealth or in a collective term a good life it seems, does not comes from having the two copper coins in our own hands but in God’s.


[i] The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges (Cambridge University Press, 1882-1921, Public Domain, The Widow’s Mite)

[ii] Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible (Moody Press)

Picture Credit: joyfulheart.com