In the encounter that we focus on this month – that of the poor widow’s offering found in Luke 21 and Mark 12 – we see that our attitude toward and use of money is indeed a spiritual issue.
Jesus knew that her gift wasn’t to the temple, but it was to God – she was trusting her uncertain future to Him.
“I tell you the truth,’ Jesus said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others” Luke 21:5.
Christianity and money are always a popular sore spot with people. Pleading TV preachers have not helped the situation very much – it’s easy to write the whole thing off as a money grab. But in the encounter that we focus on this month – that of the poor widow’s offering found in Luke 21 and Mark 12 – we see that our attitude toward and use of money is indeed a spiritual issue.
After a spirited interchange with his enemies, Jesus and the disciples were sitting near one of the 13 offering boxes on the Temple Mount. Narrow at the top and wide at the bottom, they were called the Trumpets, and each one was designated to a specific need in Temple service. Apparently, one was able to see what kind of gifts were being made at these boxes, including the ridiculously small gift of this poor widow. The photos above are of a replica of a ‘widow’s mite’ (I don’t even have a real one!). They were worth a fraction of a cent, but for this poorest of the poor, it was a significant donation.
I think it’s interesting that Jesus made no comment on the excesses of the Temple system of his day. We know that he didn’t agree with it as he cleansed the tables of the money changers on the Mount. He didn’t tell the widow to put her money somewhere else where it would be better spent. He knew that her gift wasn’t to the temple, but it was to God – she was trusting her uncertain future to Him.
Jesus said elsewhere that you can’t serve both God and Money – stuff of this world. Eventually we will gravitate to one and the other will languish. There is a competition for our trust – is it in our stuff or is it in God? This shows in how we direct our money. As we ask the Holy Spirit to have His way in our life, eventually we will come to the money question.
There was a great revival in areas of Indonesia in the 70’s and a book was written about that time. In it, the author Kurt Koch said: “Whenever the pockets of Christians are touched, something is sure to have taken place. Pockets are the last places to be surrendered to Christ. The door of one’s bank account is always the last door which is opened to Jesus, if it is ever opened to him at all.”
Have you had a financial encounter with the Lord? Are you placing your trust in him? How do you know?
Pastor Leon Throness