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THE HUMBLE WIDOW
-A HEROINE OF FAITH FOR SHE GAVE ALL-
Mark 12:41-44, Luke 20:46-21:1-4
Luke 20:46-21:1-4 "Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets. They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely." 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."
It was the Jewish Paschal week, people from all the countries of the Roman Empire and beyond journeyed to Jerusalem. Many were Jewish and were partaking of the Passover Lamb Religious Memorial Service. Gentiles went to the city for the sporting and entertaining events held by the Romans during the week of holidays.
Every devout Jew wanted to celebrate the festival holidays in the city of Jerusalem, as required by the Mosaic Law. In the Jerusalem Temple Courts, those of the Jewish faith were giving tithes, freewill offerings, alms for the poor and gifts for the beautiful Temple to be maintained, including temple taxes.
Both Jewish men and women were allowed in the front sector called The Court of Women, but women could go no further into the Temple than the treasury located in an adjoining walkway to the Court of the Women. Collection boxes were placed along side the wall and on each box was stated how its contents would be spent.
Those who had plenty had much to give with much left over and they did not conceal their generous gifts. Many called attention to their gift giving so they would be noticed. A gift given begrudgingly or for recognition loses any value or representation.
Jesus had been teaching His disciples the proud arrogance of the Scribes, who 'devour widow's houses'. Jesus exposed the greed of the analysts. Scribes often served as planners of a widow' estate and this opportunity gave them to convince widows to serve God by giving their husband's estate either to the Temple or the scribe's own pious set apart work, effectively robbing the widow of their husband's legacy. These Scribes were also fed by widows who helped support them. A widow could find few ways to earn money.
An anonymous widow, characterised by little means of support went unnoticed by the crowds around her as she put her coins into the treasury chest box, one of many receptacles placed along the wall of the court. She was poor and her gift was sacrificial, for it represented all she had. The widow in her poverty is in stark contrast not only to the proud Scribes and Pharisees, but to those who could afford to give.
The devotion of the widow was noticed by Jesus, as she went on her way. By contrast the widow who gave her only two coins worshipped God out of deep humbleness and genuine devotion.
Jesus knew the amount of her sacrificial gift. Jesus had divine insight into her life and character, and took inventory of her comparatively small gift she deposited.
In the Bible it is not recorded if Jesus spoke to her, but He gave an everlasting lesson to his disciples because of her sacrificial giving. What the rich were able to give was significant, but the small gift of the widow moved the greatest Giver of all to make mention that she had given more than all others there that day.
Jesus taught it is not how much is given to God but how it is given to Him. God's eyes alone knew of the devotion of her offering. The loving act of the widow outweighed the generous giving of the rich Pharisees.
The possession of wealth has dangers and those with it are expected to be generous, and God expects wise use of any money for this brings blessings. Both King Solomon and the prophet Malachi had recorded God's promised showers of blessings to those who returned their ten percent, but this widow gave one hundred percent, which was not obligatory.
Without any hesitation, she gave her only two copper coins to God. The widow had given all she had at the time, and Jesus knew her self-denial act was an everlasting one.
In a few days time would be the most sacrificial gift offering to happen in the history of mankind by Jesus, but He had time to take notice of the widow's sacrificial gift.
Jesus noticed that the rich still had abundant wealth left over after their gift. He knew the widow had none. She had given her worldly wealth.
To God, how much she gave was not important. Jesus was concerned that she had nothing left, and what her gift represented to her, and to the widow it represented everything she had. The widow's whole-heartedness in giving attracted the Lord's praise and commendation. God is interested in the motives and attitudes behind giving, for people like to hold on to their money for security reasons, forgetting they have it only by the Grace of God.
God does not need money, He is concerned only with how people use their money.
What the widow did was remarkable. Love can not be regulated. Jesus knew her reason, He knew of her total dedication.
With a tithe, the poor can give the same percentage as the rich can give, but this was not the widow's tithe but a freewill offering.
The amount she gave was remarkable, and Jesus had valued it. There would have been no limitation God would have bestowed on this act of love from the humble and poor widow.
The coin was called a mite, it was the least valuable coin in circulation at the time. The amount of the gift is not its value but the commitment of sacrifice it represents.
The widow's free-will offering was willing indeed, beyond that which was both convenient and secure, depending upon God's provision alone. The disciples had been sent to the villages throughout Israel by Jesus, without taking their fare, learning how to depend on God to provide.
Many might have thought her free-will offering was meagre but Jesus didn't and commended her to His disciples. She gave out of her poverty, all she had to live on. The widow exemplified true sacrificial giving.
God requires that widows be well cared for and given special consideration along with the orphan and stranger. The widow was extremely humble and in great poverty, she herself, fit to be the receiver of charity.
The widow's giving more in proportion of her means meant more in the sight of God than those who gave out of their abundance. There was nothing sacrificial about their giving.
The widow certainly had outstanding faith to commit all she had to God. Her applied personal faith was in the reliance and trustworthiness of the promises of God, for she literally she gave all she had to live on. The widow had faith that reaches beyond the natural realm of ability.
Jesus said she had given more than all the wealthy, and her devotion to God was a high priority.
A noted and trustworthy saying of eternal value is helpful in
giving. "Money is something you cannot take with you to heaven, but
it is possible to send it on ahead".
Money can be used for things of eternal value if invested in the things of God.
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