Luke 21: 1 – 4 The widow’s offering
As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’
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The aspect of this story that strikes me most forcefully is the relationship that must exist between the widow and God. As Jesus says, ‘she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’
An offering to the temple wasn’t charity given to the poor; it was an offering made to God.
There could have been all sorts of motivations, good and bad, for the rich to give to the temple. Gratitude, perhaps; or maybe out of a feeling of guilt; perhaps out of love for God, and a desire to beautify his house; or maybe as a way of gaining status by giving publicly and lavishly.
Jesus doesn’t disparage the gifts of the wealthy – he just says the widow has given more than they have.
But what reasons could the widow have for giving?
In the first place, her faith must be deep. She put in ‘all she had to live on’ trusting that God would meet her physical needs.
Could it have been gratitude? Why would a desperately poor widow feel so grateful that she gave all she had to live on to God? She must have had joy in her life, and that joy can only have come from God.
Sacrificial giving like this is a complete surrender to God. It is worship. It is saying, “Lord, all I have is yours”.
The widow gives to the limit; she places herself entirely in God’s hands. As a result, despite being poor and having no status at all, she is filled with joy. She experiences God’s love very strongly and very directly.
Faith, gratitude, love and worship are closely intermingled in this passage. God loves the widow, and she consciously experiences his love. She responds with faith, gratitude and worship, and that increases her closeness to God. She rejoices.
Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God (Luke 6: 20)
The widow’s example shows us how this teaching of Jesus can be literally true even in this earthly life.
Thank you for your love for me. Please help me respond like the widow – with faith, gratitude and worship. Please help me to be more ready to share my material blessings.
In Jesus name, Amen