"He looked up..." (Luke 21:1).
In addition to the words of Jesus, we should listen to His body language. In recording the story of the widow's offering, Luke writes that Jesus "looked up," and that's when He saw the poor widow putting in her two mites. But it begs the question: Why was He looking down in the first place?
My guess (because we are not told) is that He was sad and wondering whether God's love was making a difference in anyone's heart! Consider the events that surround the story of the widow: He could only weep over Jerusalem (19:41-44); the temple was being misused (19:45-46); priests and scribes questioned His authority (20:1-8); they tried to "catch Him in something He said" (20:19-26); Sadducees denied the resurrection (20:27-40); He condemned the scribes (20:45-47); He foretold the destruction of the temple (21:5-9) and city (21:20-24); He foretold wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilences, and persecution (21:10-19); they "were seeking how to put Him to death" (22:1-2); and "Satan entered into Judas" to betray Him (22:3-6).
(And I talk about having a rough week!)
The lone bright spot: this widow and her offering. It wasn't much but it was everything. And it was all our Lord needed to see. I sense that it picked Him up - this humble, true faith and love of one person.
It happened on Tuesday of Holy Week. That's when Jesus looked up and saw her. What I like to believe is that three days later she looked up and saw Him giving His offering.
But the lesson here would be that we have the ability to encourage Jesus. He must be in need of it. He has had to witness the sin, unbelief, and deep sorrows of many centuries. You can do something about it.
When you give from your heart out of love for the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, you, small though you are, strengthen the heart of the living Lord! Just like the widow.