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Lesson from Two Widows on the Value of Sacrifice

Born and raised in a Catholic home, Reina is deeply passionate about sharing her faith with all people.

"It is not how much we give but how much love we put into giving," says the saint, Mother Teresa of Calcutta. In the gospel, Jesus hailed the poor widow for dropping her few coins into the temple treasury. The Lord considered her offering more valuable than all the others who gave out of their spare cash. She gave everything that she had to live.

The widow in Zarephath shared what she had left to feed herself and her son with Elijah. Although she held back, she gave in eventually after hearing the promise of God spoken to her by the prophet. She received the reward for her sacrifice in the end. The widow and her child lived for another year to see the promise of God to her fulfilled.

Because of his great love for all people, Jesus offered his life for the salvation of all people. No one can compare to the suffering of Christ on the cross. His sacrifice brings a promise for all those who believe in him. He shall come back to take everyone to eternal salvation. The love of Christ gives us the strength to endure all sufferings and remain faithful to his word.


Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first, make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”

— 1 Kings 17:13-14 | NIV

Elijah in Zarephath

Elijah was hungry and thirsty when he arrived in Zarephath, for there was a famine in the land. When he saw the widow gathering sticks, he asked her for a drink. He even demanded that the woman also bake him a cake. The woman did not refuse him his request.

The widow barely had anything left to feed herself and her son. She was gathering those sticks to prepare their last meal. When the prophet learned about the widow's miserable situation, he urged her with the promise of God's word. The widow and her son lived to see this promise fulfilled.

For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.

— 1 Kings 17:16 | NIV

Sacrifice of Christ

The letter to the Hebrews speaks about the second coming of Christ. He will come again to bring salvation to those who wait for him. Catholics profess this every time they celebrate the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist in the Holy Mass.

When the priest blesses the bread and wine offered during the Holy Mass, he tells the people to proclaim the mystery of faith. The people reply either in speech or in song. Christ had died, is risen, and Christ will come again.

Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

— Hebrews 9:28 | NIV

A Widow's Offering

Jesus and his disciples were in the temple when he saw the poor widow drop a few coins into the offering box. Others were putting in large sums of money. But, the Lord complimented the poor widow for giving everything that she had.

The Lord had also warned the people to beware of those scribes. They shall receive condemnation for their wicked deeds. They love the seats of honor in the synagogues and banquets. They recite lengthy prayers with devotion. Yet, they gobble on the houses of the widows.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

— Mark 12:43-44 | NIV

Personal Thoughts

Jesus and the two widows in these bible passages did one thing in common. They all made a sacrifice for the fulfillment of the will of God. The widow in Zarephath fed Elijah even though she almost had nothing left for herself. In the gospel story, the poor widow dropped her last penny into the temple treasury. Most of all, Jesus offered his entire life to die on the cross for the salvation of all people.

The sacrifice pleasing and acceptable to God are those made out of pain and suffering. They come from the heart. The suffering of Christ on the cross is the ultimate sacrifice that reveals God's heart towards all people. It is a sacrifice of love that can bear all pain and suffering. We can endure all pain and suffering in life if we look up to the suffering of Christ on the cross.

God is indeed faithful. He will fulfill all his promises. Just the word of God spoken by the prophet to the widow in Zarephath came to pass, Christ will also come back to complete his pledge of salvation for all those who believe in him. Therefore, we can live confidently despite life's difficulties if we remain faithful to him and believe in his word.

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This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Reina Mendoza

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