Sometimes the point of this story is debated. Is Jesus advocating for all to “Go, sell everything you have, give to the poor, and come follow me”? He said it to the rich young ruler, perhaps now he expands the command to cover all.
But there is another way to hear this parable. What if Jesus isn’t using the widow as an object lesson; perhaps the point is the simple fact that Jesus notices her. That is not a given. Note that Luke records that Jesus is watching “the crowd putting money into the treasury.” Moreover, “many rich people put in large sums.” Yet despite that fact that she is just one in a crowd, and that many people were putting in significantly larger sums, Jesus’ attention is given to, even fixed upon, the much smaller offering of this woman.
And whatever it is that He wants his disciples to learn from her, perhaps the first lesson is simply to notice her. To see her. To acknowledge her person, her being, her plight, and her offering. She is not, in the end, an object lesson, but a person. Easily unseen, even invisible, yet worthy of Jesus’ attention, and ours.
We might ask who we are not seeing as we go about our daily lives. Who have we forgotten, ignored, or overlooked that God would invite us to notice, recognize, and honor? Similarly, whom have we made into an issue or a cause when, first and foremost, they are people? Championing “the poor” is one thing; knowing the name and taking the time to care about a specific person who has very little is another thing all together. Moreover, we might remind ourselves that each of us, no matter what our status or wealth, has days–and some of us many–when we feel invisible, unremarkable, and not worthy of attention. Yet Jesus also sees us, deems us worthy of God’s attention, and frees us to give the same compassionate regard to others.
There are so many people that deserve being seen. It starts with God’s promise to see us, regard us, uplift us, and equip us as His beloved children both called to and capable of seeing others as His children, too.