James Christensen says that the story of The Widow's Mite
has long been one of his favorite moral tales.
As written in the New Testament, Luke 21:1-4: "He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw a poor widow put in two copper coins. And He said, 'Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for they contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living she had'."
Christensen tells us, "And Jesus and His disciples watched, the town's rich men made an ostentatious show of
putting their gold and silver in the Temple treasury. They watched, judging each other
and proudly displaying their own grandiose offerings. It was a show of reverence instead of
the real thing. Then, into their midst walked a poor widow. She came simply and without
fanfare, unaware of the impression she made. While the rich men looked in disdain at her
pittance she hadn't even troubled to carry the coins side by side to increase their
gleam — Jesus understood that this poor woman's small gift was of a magnitude unattainable
by mere wealth.
"I pictured this widow as young," says James Christensen. "Suppose she had children? If
so, her gift was greater still. But she didn't think of how large or small her gift was.
She merely gave what she had. I wanted to show that purity of thought and action.
In The Widow's Mite
, the lights and shadows are symbolic of spiritual
and worldly power. The woman glows with an inner light. By contrast, the rich, bejeweled city fathers are in the dark. Even the
widow's clothing, though ragged, glows with a celestial light. The point here is not
money, it's what we are willing to give of ourselves."