The widow who gives her two coins to the Gospel is a figure who continually challenges me. She does not have a lengthy description or biography, and maybe the evangelist Luke does not include either so that we may focus more on the act than the person. As a widow in Israelite society, she would have been dependent on any male family members still living to support her. For a widow to give away two coins could have been the only two coins she had to her name.
She upends the thinking that generosity is a golden mean between two extremes. To give too little is to be stingy; to give to too much is to be too liberal with one’s money. Generosity is then giving the right amount of money to the right people and in the right way. While it might be more comfortable to think of the widow’s act in these terms, Jesus exhorts a different model of generosity in the example of the widow.
The widow gives away the money she needs to live. The rational choice would have been to save the little money she has in order that she could provide for herself, or use the 2 coins in an investment scheme to double her money. Instead, she gives away from her necessity to the temple. She practices a reckless generosity. In her recklessness, she reflects God’s activity in the world. God is reckless too. God loves us recklessly because God never stops loving us regardless of the number of times we human beings turn away. Jesus gives away his life recklessly on the cross for our salvation. Recklessness seems to mark those people who have let go of their egos in order to make room for others in their lives.
Let us pray that we may be reckless in the ways we love and give to one another like God. In what is God calling you to be reckless? Where have you experienced the recklessness of God’s love?