I want to share a love story of two widows with one common might. One story you know, one story you don’t.
One gave two mites. One gave a fortune. Both sadly lost a husband. Both joyfully kept their first love. And both shaped history.
The first widow was left very little. We don not know her name and we only get a glimpse of her as she passes through the her church and gently places her offering into the bowl.
…and He saw also a poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this widow has put in more than all; for all of these put of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood she had. Luke 21:2-4 NKJV
It was the act of giving from her scarcity that Jesus notices and shares. No one even knows where her money was ultimately used, but those two copper coins are still affecting thinking, shaping hearts and inspiring giving today. With God, it’s never been about the money. It’s always about what you will do with what you’ve been given.
The second widow was left a fortune. A friend of mine wrote to me about a man named Cyrus McCormick, inventor of a reaping machine used in harvesting wheat. Cyrus died in 1884, and left a fortune for his widow, Nettie.
She established a theological seminary in Chicago and educational efforts in Appalachia. She funded hospitals and schools around the world, and supported the preaching and evangelistic campaigns of D. L. Moody and John Mott. As a note, Dr. Billy Graham was reached with the gospel at age 16 through the ripple effects of D. L. Moody and Billy followed in his footsteps long after Moody’s death.
She absorbed herself in Asian missions, and her house off Michigan Avenue in Chicago became a Christian halfway house between the Orient and the West. It was always full of missionaries catching their breath and Christians from around the world. She improved the water supply in one country, provided a hospital in another, and a Christian college in another. She built a women’s clinic in Persia and a seminary in Korea. She sent agricultural machines to India. It was never about the money. It was about what she did from what she had.
Nettie was quoted saying, “Usefulness is the great thing in life—to do something for others leaves a sweeter odor than a life of pleasure.”
Two widows. Two mites. One fortune. Through their sadness and loss, these widows had the might to devote all they had to their common true love. As we remember these two faithful women, may God give us each the same might to know Him and make Him with all He has placed in our hands.