Our word "pittance" has come to mean a very tiny gift, but that was not its original meaning. In the Middle Ages the term referred to a very substantial sum, given "out of piety and pity." Often the interest from the fund was used to provide a splendid dinner for the monks in the monastery. But as time went on and inflation took its toll, there was only enough money for a small snack. The large gift had over the years become a pittance. It is not only inflation that measures the size of our gifts. They are also to be measured by the resources from which we give, and by what we have left after we give. So the widow's mite in the gospels was what we would call a pittance, but Jesus reckoned that it was a substantial and splendid gift.