Good morning Church,
Praise the Lord! Another week of opportunity lies ahead - Opportunity to fully live for Jesus, and see what He does with what you offer Him.
In this week's reading, we are very close to the arrest and execution of Jesus. I find it very interesting that this story is placed where it is in the Gospel. I believe that Luke is trying to convey a very strong message to his readers - "put in everything you have to live on" (Lk. 21:4). The cost of following Jesus is everything!
This story is fascinating because it reveals that Jesus (God) is watching and observing people's hearts, and what they do with their riches. He saw people putting their gifts into the temple treasury. One poor widow drew His attention! Widows had it very hard in first century Rome, and actually, throughout the bible time. If they did not have family to support them, they would be the poorest of the poor, reduced to beggars to survive. This widow put in "two small copper coins". Scholars say that the value of each coin was about 1/8th of a penny - so she put in a 1/4 of one cent total. Yet, Jesus says literally, "she gave more than everyone combined!" How can this be? Because God looks at the heart, not the external - she was giving ALL she had! The others were literally giving a small amount out of their "superabundance" (the meaning of the Greek word used) - giving the leftovers! The message: Jesus wants your ALL, not your scraps!
Is this story about tithing? No. Is it about giving to the church? No. It is a story about a commitment to God to surrender all. Let's look at what Jesus has already said in Luke's Gospel.
(Want more? Look up Luke 5:11; Luke 5:28; Luke 18:22-23; Luke 18:28-30)
Look at what Paul says about the churches in Macedonia - "Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity." (2 Corinthians 8:2 NIV)
Here is Paul's message to believers: "If you are really eager to give, it isn't important how much you are able to give. God wants you to give what you have, not what you don't have." (2 Corinthians 8:12 NLT)
Here are some observations from this story:
- Jesus knows all people and He sees all of our actions, including the motivation of our hearts
- Jesus knows the rich from the poor, and what each one does with his or her money
- He takes special note of those who surrender all
- It doesn't matter how much you have; what are you going to do with what you've got?
Friends, we are living in a season of counting the cost of following Jesus. The world is getting more hostile to followers of Jesus and His truth. God is not looking for posers and pretenders, He is looking for those who are ALL IN. Are we going to give a fraction of our abundance, or are we going to give Him all we've got!
Have a great week as you ponder this question.