"And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” (Luke 21:1-4)
As I was studying this passage I read several commentaries and one thing was noted more than once. God does not measure the gift by its value in reference to what others have given, or even what its value in society is monetarily. But rather, God measures the gift by what was held onto - what remains in the givers possession. I don't necessarily disagree... but there is a matter overlooked which is of great importance, the faith which the woman had. She knew her Lord would supply her need (Phil. 4:19) since she was a widow and had had experience with God, He always provides for His own.
...for these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God… (vs. 4a)
How we give is very important. Are we with open hand or closed fist? Is our giving generous or do we hold back when we could give? Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision, was an open handed giver. Yet no matter open or closed our hand - we must be thoughtful in our giving.
I say thoughtful because to fulfill Paul's request that no collection be made when he arrived in Corinth (1 Cor. 16:1-2) required thoughtful and planned giving. Bob Pierce was not a thoughtful giver, though he was very generous. He once took a wad of money from his wife, which was for the rent and gave the whole amount in a certain Church service.
Yet that generosity violated another principle, taught in 1 Tim. 5:8, "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."
Bob Pierce's family suffered much due to his generosity in part. This is a presuming upon God. (His story is told in Days of Glory, Seasons of Night.)
In our text the widow who put in all that she had couldn't violate this principle, since she was a widow. She had God alone to provide for her. James tells us, "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." (Jam. 1:27)
This woman was better the recipient of offerings than the offeror!
Finally, we ought to be cheerful in our giving. Paul tells us this in 1 Cor. 9:6-7:
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
Lord help us, to be cheerful, generous, and thoughtful as we give, that you be seen to be the truly generous and gracious God you are, before all men!