“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…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 she had.”
Mark 12: 41-44
Few stories from the Bible are so touching as this one, which tells us that the true nature of generosity is not how much you can give in relation to others, but how much you can give in relation to yourself.
The mere pittance that the poor widow donated was more meaningful to Jesus than the handfuls of silver that the wealthy merchants brought forth. Since Jesus made a point of how poor this widow was, and what a pittance she threw into the treasury, there is little doubt that the ‘widow’s mites’ were the smallest coins in circulation in Jerusalem at the time. This tiny bronze coin (a mite) was struck in Judaea early in the 1st century BC and shows a star on one side and an anchor on the other. It is certainly representative of what would have been used as small ‘pocket change’ in Jerusalem at much the same time this poor widow made her memorable donation.