If the rich men had given more than the poor widow, why was she the one to be appreciated by Jesus? If Jesus said the rest had given out of abundance, and the poor widow had given all that she had, does this mean that we shouldn't give when we have in abundance?
Luke 21:1 - 4
ESV - 1 Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box. 2 And he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.
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Considering the widow had given all she had, I agree that she gave more than all the others. However, if we follow the context beginning in Luke chapter 20 Christ was "in the temple" teaching and preaching the gospel which was obviously rejected and challenge by the chief priests and scribes. He was then interrogated by the Herodians and Sadducees, all of whom were hoping that some element of his response would be incriminating. In Luke 20:45-47, just prior to the passage in question we read: "Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples. Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; Which devour widows' houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation." In Luke 21:1-4 I do not believe Jesus was showing appreciation for the widow's offering but rather pointing out the poor widow to his disciples as "case in point", a real-world living example of a widow who had fallen victim to the deception of the scribes he had just warned them about in 20:45-47. It does not seem logical that Christ appreciated the widow's contribution knowing that it was in support of the then present state of Judaism which he severely condemned many times.
As people slotted in their offerings, Jesus was standing by watching closely. For He must have had a vested interest in the giving. And on account of what He had seen, He made a comment. He said all the rest had given out of abundance, but the poor widow had given all she had. There are lessons to be learnt here. 1) Is it what we literally give, or the heart out of which we give? 2) Are we not to give if we have abundance? 3) When is someone said to have given cheerfully? Is it what we literally give, or the heart out of which we give? It is not true that we shouldn't give out of abundance. It is not in the sense that we shouldn't have enough in order to be counted to have given. For we should give because it is what to do and do it cheerfully. Thus we are not to say; "since I have much, let me give some". For we are to say; "let me give because I have to, and there is need to". If we are to give out of abundance, the poor widow wouldn't have had reason to give. On that account therefore, the rich men gave because they had plenty, meaning had they had less, there wouldn't have been reason for them to give. Yet the reason is there, the reason is; they had to, and there was need to. What should therefore go ahead of us is not what we have from which to give, but the need to give. We shouldn't therefore be negative about giving. In 2Cor 9:6-7, Bible says God loves a cheerful giver. It says cheerful because to be so is to love what you do. Not cheerful in appearance, but cheerful from within, for it is how Jesus judged who had given more and who had given less. Not in terms of how much, but in terms of how. For the poor widow gave cheerfully her hard earned belongings. For it seems she must have read Psalms 24:1 and Proverbs 10:22. She loved to have a flourishing relationship with God. For the rich men, it was not to do with God. Their giving would never touch God, neither them. For they gave not because they had to, or because there was need to. For there was so much for them from which to give. Such a way can never touch God. Are we not to give if we have abundance? The notion here is not that we shouldn't give if we have abundance. For abundance is equally a blessing from God. Many men of God have been blessed materially. What does rich mean? It means having more than enough. But the question is; who are you rich for? Thus we refer to Psalms 24:1. All the earth and everything therein belongs to the Lord. If therefore anybody is to be rich, he should be so for the Lord. Our riches therefore should readily be available to the service of God. On this account therefore, it is okay to have abundance, but our abundance should never have anything to do with our giving. Rather our giving should be detached from having abundance. We should give because we love God, to whom the honor of our riches should be. The will in us therefore should always be there to come in whether when we have or when we don't have. For we are to give all. God the Father gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16). He gave all He had. When are we said to have given cheerfully? Our giving is accepted of God if we do so out of a loving and willing heart. It is accepted to be cheerful when what matters is not what we have given. For it is the state of the heart from which we are giving. How much we give is not what counts, but how we give it is what is counted of us to have given. We may therefore literally have given many times, yet only one of them you have been spotted by Jesus to have given more than anybody else. In conclusive terms, it shouldn't only be about giving, but the entire life of a Christian. From what heart do we do whatever we do? For God judges the heart and the intention, not the action. If there is anything that God loves from us, it is our heart (Jeremiah 17:10), (Lu 16:15), (Psalms 44:2. Are we intending to build or to break? Are you intending to benefit yourself or to build the Kingdom of God? Guard your heart, not your actions.
Jesus said in Luke 21:3, “[she gave] more than … all' or -- "And he said, 'Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:'" She gave in proportion to her means, which is God’s standard (2 Cor 8:12 -- "For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not."). Her willingness to give abundantly was what Jesus commended. Just because we have an abundance and give only what will not be missed is not commendable.
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