The Widow’s Offering (Part 2)


We are continuing from yesterday’s meditation to look at the words of Jesus as He noticed a widow giving away the last of her finances, putting it into the temple treasury. Here’s the passage of Scripture:

1As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3"I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on" (Luke 21:1-4).

The second way in which we can view this passage is that Jesus is using this example of the widow's offering to illustrate the difference of heart between what He saw in the religious establishment and the ordinary people. There are good spiritual lessons to be learned when one has little financial resources. One learns dependence on God and the people of God, and the things that are important as opposed to the trivial. Was the widow's gift an issue of faith and obedience? Perhaps she felt that God spoke to her to give all she had.

God alone sees the motives of the heart as to whether or not she was coerced into giving her all on which to live. It may also have been an issue of complete abandonment and dependence on the providence of God. If so, God would have blessed her obedience with His provision. Two tiny copper coins would not have bought much, perhaps just one piece of bread. There seems to be no worry about where she would get her next meal. She casts her all into the hands of God.

Our giving is an expression of our faith and trust in God. He watches over those who walk with Him looking to fill their open and empty hands. The Scripture tells us that "The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him" (2 Chronicles 16:9). God is continually watching our expressions of faith and trust in Him. These expressions of trust are evidence to Him of our releasing ourselves from the grip of self into His shepherding care and provision. It is an outward sign that we are freeing ourselves from the I, me, and mine syndrome. Self-preservation lays a strong hold on each of us. The widow was quite oblivious to the fact that the Lord was watching her. It is an encouragement to know that, when we make sacrifices to God, He is watching and sees everything that we give and do to further the eternal welfare of those around us. The Lord promises, "Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" (Matthew 6:4). Great will be the reward of the poor for their gifts of love toward God and their investments in His Kingdom.

We shouldn’t think that God despises generous gifts from those He has blessed with finances in this world. Thank God for those who have the gift of giving (Romans 12:8). Concerning our giving, what pleases the Lord most? If we hold to the second viewpoint on her giving, this poor widow gave sacrificially and with a pure motive. Another quality that the Lord loves is when we give with joy. When we give with glad hearts, it demonstrates our trust in God.

This kind of sacrificial giving, which drew the attention of Jesus, stood out from the other gifts presented that day. There were many, no doubt, who came bearing gifts, and I am sure that all of them exceeded hers, but her gift touched the Lord's heart more than the others because she gave despite her personal need. We saw in earlier passages how Jesus was verbally attacked by the money-changers in the temple who had financial gain as their motive. He cut into their income by not letting them buy and sell animals in the temple courts. In the second view of this passage, it was refreshing for Him to see one who gave her all. She will have a great reward at the resurrection! Keith Thomas

Taken from the series on the Book of Luke. Click on study 55: Signs of Christ’s Second Coming.