Haggai and Zechariah were contemporaries who were called into service after Israel’s return from captivity. The foundation of the temple had been laid, then the work was set aside as people pursued their own interests (Hag 1:4, 9).
But as the people rebuilt the temple, those who had seen it in its former glory began to weep (Hag 2:3), as the new temple would never match the glory of the former. God told Haggai the glory of the new would exceed that of the old, not because of what it was, but because of Who would walk in it, namely Jesus, “the Desire of all the nations (Hag 2:6-9). Through Zechariah, God declared, “Who has despised the day of small things?” (4:10). The people had misplaced their faith in the glory of the temple rather than the God of the temple.
We see a similar misplaced faith in today’s reading. As Jesus and His disciples watched the wealthy bring their offerings to the temple, a poor widow came and put in two mites. Mark tells us that two mites make a quadrans, the smallest Roman coin in circulation. Perhaps sensing an attitude among the disciples’ of “what is this among so much?”, Jesus tells them this woman has given more than all of the others. Not because of the sum, but because of the sacrifice.
Too many Christians disregard their “puny” or “insignificant” contributions to the church. But Jesus said whoever gives a cup of cold water to a little one in the name of a disciple will not lose his reward (Matt 10:42).
Event the parable of the talents could have played out this way. Rather that the account telling of one who failed to use what little he was given, it could have been told differently to the same effect as today’s thought. Consider…
What if the five talent man had only exercised his abilities to the level of four talents? What if he had failed to use all that God had given him? Then consider if the one talent man had worked diligently with his “one little ol’ talent” to the best of his ability? Who would have been commended by the Lord and who would have been condemned? I believe we know the answer.
Whatever you have to offer in service to the kingdom is valuable! Do not bury or disregard your talent! Use it up in the service of the Lord! Let the Lord determine its value!