Wed, Nov 7th - 10:34PM
The old women stood before the moneychanger’s table. Her bent fingers fumbled in her small cloth purse. Behind her, several rich men laughed. Finally she pulled out one tarnished coin. The man in the robe at the table smirked and pushed two small copper coins across to her with exaggerated care. The woman picked up the copper temple approved coins and pressed them into the palm of her left hand. She smiled kindly at the moneychanger.
The large rich man behind her didn’t wait for her to step away. He pushed next to her and laid a large leather bag on the table. The moneychanger hesitated, then looked quickly at his stock of temple coins. It was enough.
He had enough coins for such a large amount because he paid attention. He had heard the rumors that the young rabbi would be at the temple today. He knew some of the important men in the temple might want to meet this rabbi. And if they wanted to meet him, it meant they wanted to impress him. This Jesus would make him a fine profit on the exchanges today.
"Eli, such a temple gift! You must have had a good month!" one of the men said to the man at the table with a loud laugh.
"I finally collected from that old carpenter. The one who had owed me since spring. I leaned on him and he finally paid."
The moneychanger measured out several stacks of temple coin. Eli counted the coins and then scooped them into his bag. He pulled the drawstrings tight and placed the bag deep in the inside pocket of his coat. He headed for the temple court as the others lined up at the table behind him.
In the middle of the court the young rabbi was speaking. He sounded angry and the people around him seemed to be getting angry at him. Eli decided that maybe this rabbi wasn’t one to be associated with. He turned to the treasury box for his big moment.
Above the box was a new large brass funnel. It was especially designed to draw attention to the giving to the temple. As the newly purchased temple coins rolled around in the funnel on their way to the box, the sound of someone giving could be heard across the huge courtyard.
Eli pulled his coin bag out from deep in his coat and felt the weight of it one last time in his hand. He poured some coins into his hand and tossed them slowly into the funnel, flicking his wrist slightly to make the coins curve into the funnel for a longer, noisier rise. As it rattled around he poured more coins into his hand and released them. With great care he kept the coins spinning for several moments.
He glanced around to see most of the heads in the courtyard turned towards the noise the coins were making. Much of the conversation in the courtyard had died down. When the coins finally stopped there was a rare quiet. Much of the crowd gathered around the young rabbi turned to see his reaction. Jesus just smiled.
The little woman stood near the treasury box, the two coins still pressed into her palm. Eli stayed before the funnel for a while, oblivious to the woman, enjoying the moment. Finally he walked away, towards his small group of wealthy friends.
The woman waited a little longer, making sure everyone’s attention had shifted back to their own matters. She walked quickly to the funnel but didn’t cast the coins in immediately. This was the last of her money. There were many foul smells in the courtyard but there was also was the smell of cooking meat from the ongoing sacrifices. She hadn’t eaten in two days. Slowly she raised her eyes towards the temple, imagining she could see the Arc of the Covenant itself, the seat of God. With a blissful smile, she cast the two coins into the funnel. They clinked twice and were gone.
She looked around to see if anyone had noticed her gift. No one in the court seemed to be looking. Then, through the small crowd around him, she saw Jesus looking at her. His look seemed to make the hundreds of people around them disappear. For the first time in many years someone was actually seeing her. And his look wasn’t pity. It was approval.
"I tell you the truth," Jesus said loudly. "This poor woman has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."
The woman blushed. She looked away, uncomfortable with more attention than she had ever received in her life. But then she looked back at him, unable to resist Jesus’ look. He said something to her from across the courtyard. Somehow no one else heard him, but he said, "My daughter, there will be a feast at your house tonight."
Several rich temple leaders went home angry that day. The little woman simply went home and waited.
Our God is a god of little things. The God of supernovas, oceans, and great whales is also the God of ladybugs, snowflakes, and fireflies. Very few of his children are designed to lead Billy Graham Crusades or build cathedrals. Most of us are made to smile, encourage, and send cards. He loves us for all the little things we do. Because He makes great things out of little things.