7717 - Widow's Offering

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In our study of the gospel by Luke we are entering chapter 21.

Luke is the only Gentile writer in the New Testament. He was not a participant in any of these events about which he writes. We have no indication when Dr. Luke became a believer in Jesus Christ, but he first entered the leadership circle of Christendom in the city of Troas during Paul’s second missionary journey. Over an extended period of time Luke gathered facts by observation, reading and interviews with many of those who walked and interacted with Jesus while he lived on earth. After careful investigation, his avowed intention as he wrote, was to give an orderly and accurate account of the life of Jesus. Luke is the only gospel writer who gives many of the insights in his gospel.

Today let’s look at Luke 21:1-4 regarding the widow’s offering:

As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth," 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."

This scene takes place in the temple court. Jesus had just warned his disciples and those who were listening, regarding the motivation for doing religious service. The passage tells us Jesus saw the area where the people dropped in their donation to the temple treasury. Scholars tell us there were seven boxes in this area to receive the temple tax from people as it became due. In addition, there were six boxes designated to receive the freewill offerings which people graciously gave.

Jesus first observed rich people putting their gifts into the treasury. He noticed that several people placed considerable amounts into the collection boxes.

Of course Jesus knew the heart of each person who came to contribute. He knew who was giving to impress people standing around the boxes. He knew others were very sincere in their gracious giving.

Then a poor widow came and dropped her freewill offering into one of the boxes. This woman’s clothing revealed her condition of being poor; but the divine knowledge of Jesus observed a glad and joyful heart as she gave. She only gave two small copper coins.

It seems significant that this woman did not drop her coins into the boxes for the temple tax. This was not a required tax she brought. This was a freewill offering prompted by her joy in worship to God. To some onlookers she, and her offering, must have appeared insignificant. But Jesus observed the scene and gave commendation to this woman. Jesus said she had given more than all the others. This was a divine view of the matter. Jesus knew that she placed the last two coins in her possession into the offering. This was all she had to live on. She was not required to give. She wanted to do so.

Jesus must have been thrilled by the heart of this woman. Here was a woman who was a living demonstration of the principles given in later New Testament writings.

Paul talks about the Macedonian churches giving generously even though they were under severe trial and in extreme poverty. They pleaded with Paul to take their gift and use it in serving other needy believers. Paul comments that they had first given themselves to the Lord (2 Cor. 8:1-5).

Paul in 2 Corinthians (9, vv6-8) writes that those who give generously will reap generously. Each man should give what he had purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And he is able to make grace abound to you, so that in all things you will be supplied to participate in every good work.

You see, with God if the willingness of heart is there, the gift is acceptable according to ones resources. He will supply our every need (Phil. 4:19) when we trust Him and permit his grace to flow out through us - even our pocketbooks.