Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Widow's Two Mites

Did you know that Jesus talked about money more than anybody else in the Bible? He said more about money than anything else. Is that because money is the most important thing Jesus had to talk about? Absolutely not. Is it because Jesus knew that money would replace Him as Lord in a lot of people’s lives or because He knew people would covet, steal, bribe, swindle, extort, beg, and even kill over it? Absolutely. Money is a measure of a person’s heart.. 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “The love of money is a root of all sorts of evil.” It’s not money that is the root of evil, it is the love of it. The verses in 1 Timothy 6:9-10 say that the love of money brings temptation, snares, and foolish and harmful desires which ruin men. It also says those who love money wander away from the Faith.

In the story of the widow’s two mites in Luke 21, it has been said that Jesus is praising the poor widow because she gave everything she had. But is that really what’s happening here? Sure, the widow showed everyone that the love of money wasn’t an issue for her and Jesus recognized that she gave all. She loved the Lord. But who was Jesus actually talking about in this passage? You have to look at all Scripture in its context. Jesus had just said in Luke 20:45-47, “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.” Jesus wasn’t praising this widow as much as He was condemning these men, especially in their treatment of widows. He said they devour widows’ houses by destroying them financially with their laws that required that they give certain amounts of money to the Temple. In the past few chapters, Jesus had already been connecting the Temple with corruption.

Then Jesus noticed the widow. She was giving the last two coins she owns - fractions of pennies. I think He points this out to those who are listening, not to praise her, but to condemn the teachers of the law. I’m sure Jesus is honored that she would give all. We should sacrifice for the Lord and His Church. Jesus had a problem with religious rulers extorting money from widows and thieves in Church leadership. Instead of caring for the widows, they were swindling them. She now has nothing to live on now. I’m sure she trusted God to provide but I wonder what would have happened if she had gone to that Temple later that week and asked for help? Jesus hates it when we turn His House into a den of thieves. Remember the whip and tables He turned over? Jesus never says “be like her,” he just says don’t be like the scribes. The verses that follow these show Jesus’ condemnation of the religious leaders.

It is right to give the tithe to God (Malachi 3, 2 Corinthians 9:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2). Not doing that is robbing Him. But God hates those who twist scripture to produce wealth, especially those who manipulate and steal from the poor, the orphan and the widow. We, the Church, should serve them. That is the theme of all Scripture regarding widows, not that they give everything.

One day a certain old, rich man of a miserable disposition visited a rabbi, who took the rich man by the hand and led him to a window. “Look out there,” he said. The rich man looked into the street. “What do you see?” asked the rabbi. “I see men, women, and children,” answered the rich man. Again the rabbi took him by the hand and this time led him to a mirror. “Now what do you see?” “Now I see myself,” the rich man replied. Then the rabbi said, “Behold, in the window there is glass, and in the mirror there is glass. But the glass of the mirror is covered with a little silver, and no sooner is the silver added than you cease to see others, but you see only yourself.”

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