The Widow's Coins - Luke 21

The Widow's Coins

Luke 21:1-38

Throughout the years widows have often been among the poorest people in society.  Israel was no exception in the days of Christ.  Social welfare programs run by the government didn't exist.  Family members usually took care of family members.  The early church assumed some responsibility in providing for widows.  Acts 6:1.  According to the Bible, "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble...."  Some widows, who are Christians, at times struggle with their ability to support their church.

One day when Jesus was in the temple in Jerusalem, "He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury."  Luke 21:1.  This incident is also mentioned in Mark's gospel, where we read, "Many who were rich put in much." 

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus mentioned that some did their giving to be seen of men.  This was not uncommon.  A pastor of a church in Roseville, California always showed his tithe to his congregation in order to set an example before them.  (An example of what?)

"And He (Jesus) also saw a certain poor widow putting in two mites," small copper coins of little value like pennies today.  What a contrast!  The rich contributed much and she contributed little.

Her small gift would have gone unnoticed by others.  But Jesus said, "Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all."  More than all of the rich?  How could that be?  He continued, "For all these (rich) out of their abundance have put in offerings for God."  Now let's see.  Someone has assets worth a million dollars, and donates one hundred thousand dollars.  We would say that person was generous.  The truth is that he would be giving out of his abundance.

The widow "out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had."  God not only sees how much we give; He also sees how much we have left. 

Some people could give everything they have to God today, and yet have such earning power that their cupboard would not be bare tomorrow.  The poor woman did not have this financial capability.

It's interesting that after this incident "some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations."  Luke 21:5.  No doubt it was a magnificent structure.  Construction began in 20 bc, and was an ongoing project until it was completed in ad 64.  Six years later in ad 70, Roman soldiers entered Jerusalem and destroyed the temple.  Jesus predicted, "Not one stone shall be left upon another...."  Luke 21:6.

The beautiful temple with its precious stones was gone.  But the widow, who put those two copper coins in the treasury, had the blessing of the Lord, and treasure in heaven.

 

O God, you are the Giver of all good gifts.  Thank you for meeting all of our needs.  Keep us from greed and covetousness.  We know that you love a cheerful giver.  Teach us the joy of giving.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!

 

The Greatest - Luke 22

 
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