New Testament

Mark 12:38-44

38 In his teaching Jesus also said, “Watch out for the experts in the law. They like walking around in long robes and elaborate greetings in the marketplaces, 39 and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40 They devour widows’ property, and as a show make long prayers. These men will receive a more severe punishment.”

41 Then he sat down opposite the offering box, and watched the crowd putting coins into it. Many rich people were throwing in large amounts. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, worth less than a penny. 43 He called his disciples and said to them, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the offering box than all the others. 44 For they all gave out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in what she had to live on, everything she had.”

Dio Chrysostom Discourse 7

91 It is certainly clear that wealth does no great service to its owners as regards the entertainment of strangers or otherwise. On the contrary, it is more likely to make them stingy and parsimonious, generally speaking, than poverty is. Even if some man of wealth may be found — one perhaps in a million — who is liberal and magnanimous in character, this by no means conclusively proves that the majority do not become worse in this regard than those whose means are limited. 92 A poor man, if he be of strong character, finds the little that he has sufficient both to enable him to regain his health when his body has been attacked by an illness not too severe — when, for example, he is visited by the sort of malady that usually attacks hard-working people whenever they overeat — and also to give acceptable gifts to strangers when they come — gifts willingly given that do not arouse the recipient's suspicion or give him offence — 93 perhaps not silver bowls, or embroidered robes, or a four-horse chariot, which were the gifts of Helen and Menelaus to Telemachus. For the poor man would be unlikely to have such guests to welcome as satraps or kings, for instance, unless they were very temperate and good men in whose eyes no gift is inadequate which is prompted by affection. But guests that are dissolute and tyrannical they would neither be able, I suppose, to serve acceptably nor, perhaps, would they care to extend such hospitality. 94 For it surely did not turn out any better for Menelaus that he was able to receive the wealthiest prince of Asia as a guest and that nobody else in Sparta was equal to entertaining the son of King Priam. 95 For, mark you, that prince despoiled his home, appropriated his wife as well as his treasures, left the daughter motherless, and sailed away. And after that Menelaus wasted a great deal of time travelling all over Greece bewailing his misfortunes and begging every king in turn to help him. He was forced also to implore his brother to give his daughter to be sacrificed at Aulis. 96 Then for ten years he sat fighting in Troy-land, where again both he and his brother kept cajoling the leaders of the army. When this was not done, the soldiers would grow angry and on every occasion would threaten to sail for home. Besides, he endured many hardships and dire perils, after which he wandered about and was able to reach his home only after infinite trouble.