Summary: Jesus contrasts the phony goodness of the religious leaders with the true devotion of the poor widow. With this great story He gives three great principles about giving; (1) God cares about our giving, (2) God cares about how we give and (3) God cares how
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 58
The Widow’s Mite!
Dr. John Broadus, on one memorable Sunday as the ushers were about the offering, left the platform and walked down to where the ushers were beginning to take the collection and went along with them and looked on as every dime, nickel and dollar went into the plate. You may well imagine that some of the people were upset, even angry. Some were confused, some shamefaced, others filled with amazement. All were evidently surprised. When the collection was over, Dr. Broadus said, “My people, if you take to heart that I have seen your offerings this day and know just what sacrifices you have made and what sacrifices you have not made, remember that the Son of God your Savior, goes about the aisles with every usher and sees with his sleepless eye every cent put into the collection by His people.” He then reminded them of this truth by reading them the story of the “widow’s mite.”
Let’s read the story in Luke 21, beginning in verse one, “And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, (2) and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. (3) So He said, "Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; (4) for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had."
Jesus chose the treasury as the place that he would give his final teaching before leaving the temple forever. Jesus contrasts the phony goodness of the religious leaders with the true devotion of the poor widow. With this great story He gives three great principles about giving; (1) God cares about our giving, (2) God cares about how we give and (3) God cares how much we give.
The first principle is, God Cares About Our Giving.
In the parallel account in Mark 12:41, it says ”Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury. And saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much.” Mark gives us a picture of Jesus’ concern for the treasury of the house of the Lord. Mark tells us that Jesus “saw” or as the King James Version says, “beheld” what the people gave. The word used here means to look at something with interest and purpose, usually indicating the careful observation of details. Of all the people that Jesus saw giving into the treasure only one person impressed him. In spite of the fact that “many of the rich put in much” he was not impressed.
God is interested in our giving because He has a plan for our giving. God’s plan is called tithing. The word “tithe” is in reality a very simple word it means one tenth. The believer is expected to give one-tenth of his or her income to the Lord. In Malachi 3:10 we read; “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me now in this, Says the LORD of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”
Now I realize that the subject of money is a touchy one to some people. But it should not be. One of my favorite quotes about giving is by Frank Hubbard who has said, “When a fellow says, ‘It ain’t the money, but the principle of the thing,’ it’s the money.”
I can think of at least three or four good reasons why some people do not tithe.
1. Some people do not tithe because they
have never been taught to tithe. Because of the way some people react to the mention of money, some preachers are naturally gun-shy about preaching on the subject. And with all the shenanigans that TV preachers have pulled in the last few years some preachers are even more reticent to talk about money. Although Jesus had more to say on this subject than any other single subject.
Some say that tithing is a part of the Old Testament law and that Christians are not bound by the Old Testament law. The fact is that tithing is four hundred years older than the law, when Abraham offered a tithe of all that he had (Gen. 14:20). Tithing was practiced before the law, under the law and after the law in the New Testament.
2. Some people do not tithe because they do not understand the importance of tithing, or at least they say they don’t. I suspect that reason that at least some of them don’t tithe is they don’t want to. And if that is the reason, that’s fine but at least be honest about it.