Luke 21:1-4 give us some insights on how to give. Let us learn from the following verses:
First, let us give with the consciousness that God is watching what we give and how much we give.
Luke 21:1-2 say, “As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.”
If we know that God is watching what we give, then it changes everything!
Another thing to see here is that they gave to the temple treasury. There was an offering box. This means that we have to give to the church.
It is good to give to other causes like charity or giving our scholarships. But it should not be a substitute in giving to the church.
Now aside from giving to the church, we have another responsibility. And what is that? To give to the needy. There are many passages in the Bible that remind us of this responsibility.
Paul reminds us in Romans 12:11-13 “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
Second, we must give whether we are in plenty or in want.
Luke 21:3-4 say, “Truly I tell you,” 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.”
Jesus actually did not put down the rich people here. Jesus did not say do not follow them. Jesus is actually telling the rich people that they should continue in giving large amounts. In a parallel verse in Mark 12:41, it says, “Many rich people threw in large amounts.”
Jesus is also telling us that even if we are poor and does not have enough, it is not an excuse not to give. We can still have something to give. In this instance, it was two small copper coins.
How can Jesus say this to a widow and a poor woman? Jesus could have said to the poor widow: do not give because you are poor. But Jesus did not stop the poor widow from giving.
We can see two things here:
First, the poor widow trusted that God will provide for her needs.
Remember the widow of Zarephath? She did not have enough but she shared her last meal to Prophet Elijah. God provided for their needs.
Second, God provided for her needs through the community of faith.
Widows and orphans were people who had no means to take care of themselves during Biblical times. This was because they had no right. Their right was attached to a man. All that she could do was to beg in the streets.
So Jesus had this command to the Christians, the church, the community of faith. James wrote in 1:27 “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”
Let us give not just because God is watching but also because God will use what we give to help others and to spread the Good News of Salvation in Jesus Christ.
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on