A Modern-Day Widow’s Mite

Stephanie H. Olsen, Utah, USA

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    jar

    Illustration by Allen Garns

    The borrowed white tablecloths and snowmen centerpieces gave the cultural hall a festive look as last-minute preparations were being made for our family Christmas party.

    As we waited for our guests, my gaze drifted to a table where an empty jar—labeled “Sub for Santa”—sat. I prayed that by the end of the night, the jar would be full.

    During our party preparations we had discovered that my cousin’s husband had been out of work for over a year and a half. Her family’s main source of income consisted of handling five paper routes, which required them to begin each day at 3:30 a.m. The majority of their income went to paying the mortgage and other necessities, leaving little for things they wanted, such as Christmas presents.

    My cousin’s family was one of the first to arrive. I watched as they made their way toward the dining tables, past our Christmas jar. As they approached, my cousin’s husband stopped to read the sign on the jar. Without hesitating, he took out his worn wallet, pulled out a couple of dollars, and tossed them in the container, oblivious to who the family “in need” was.

    Emotion welled up in my throat, and I instantly recalled the New Testament story of the widow and her two mites. Wealthy men were flaunting their large donations to the treasury when “there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites” (see Mark 12:41–42).

    The Savior then said to His disciples:

    “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 that she had, even all her living” (Mark 12:43−44).

    Jesus Christ said she gave in “her want” and cast in “even all her living.” She could have given only one mite. That probably would have satisfied what was required, but her faithful heart and willingness to sacrifice all caught the attention of the Son of God.

    No one would have blamed my cousin’s husband for walking past the jar thinking, “If I had I would give” (Mosiah 4:24). His great example of charity and love for his fellowmen touched not only me but also other members of my family who were watching him. I knew his family would be fine because “charity is the pure love of Christ, … and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him” (Moroni 7:47).

    We had hoped to give his family something that night, which we did later on, but by giving in the midst of his own time of need, he showed us that when it came to what mattered most, he was already a rich man.