Just then He looked up and saw the rich people dropping offerings in the collection plate. Then He saw a poor widow put in two pennies. He said, “The plain truth is that this widow has given by far the largest offering today. All these others made offerings that they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford – she gave her all!” Luke 21:1 – 4. The Message, by Eugene Peterson.

Jesus often spoke about the religious leaders of His day. Usually what He said wasn’t all that complimentary. “Wait,” I can hear someone saying, “isn’t this about giving? What’s with talking about the religious leaders?” When Jesus said this about the widow’s gift, He was in the temple teaching. His comment just before this in chapter 20 verses 45 – 47 is specifically about the scribes. “And in the hearing of all the people he said to his disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” (Luke 20:45-47 ESV)

The next verse is our verse for today. “Just then” it says. When? Just as He made the comment about the scribes. I don’t believe in coincidences. But what was Jesus trying to teach here that relates to us in the 21st century? It’s really simple. Jesus was talking about giving, and we hear people talk about tithing all the time. This is one of the few times that we see Jesus talking about money, and guess what? He doesn’t say we need to tithe. No! What He is advocating here is not giving a tenth of your income, He is commending the widow for giving 100%!!! No, I don’t believe the New Testament teaches tithing. (Tithe literally means tenth.) The New Testament, specifically Jesus, says we are to give all! Everything! That’s a radical notion. But it is Jesus’ notion.

Now, I know that this isn’t what He expects from us on a daily basis, although there are some who live in poverty for the gospel’s sake. (This is a special gift of the Holy Spirit.) But He does expect us to give what He asks us to give. It doesn’t matter how much you have, if Jesus prompts you to buy a meal for a homeless person, buy it. This is just one example. Jesus wants us to be prepared to give 100%, when He asks. Are we?

© 2021 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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