Summary: THE WIDOW’S
THE WIDOW’S MITE (LUKE 21:1-4)
No matter how the poor in Hong Kong strived, they seem to be falling further behind and falling between the cracks. Money regularly spent on social welfare is the second highest government expense, behind funding for education, and minimum wage has increase in from HK$32.50 to HK$34.50 per hour the previous year, but still more than 1.37 million people in Hong Kong are living below the poverty line, surviving on as little as HK$4,000 a month, according to official figures released on Monday.
A fifth of the population is classed as living in poverty - the highest figure in seven years - while 17.5 per cent of children are impoverished, despite government intervention. In real terms that means a single person with a monthly income of HK$4,000, a two-person household earning HK$9,800 a month, or a three-person household earning HK$15,000. 90 per cent of HK primary school children on welfare are not having their basic needs met.
Money is quite an issue in the New Testament. It’s been said that one third of the parables or up to sixteen of the thirty-eight parables talked about money, depending on who counts. Also the word “money” is mentioned 140 times in the King James Version of the Bible, gold 417 times and silver 320 times.
Is giving for the rich, the poor or the average person? How does giving reflect or reveal your relationship with God? Why is it more blessed to give than to receive?
Giving is an Accountability and an Attribution
1 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.
Teyve the milkman from The Fiddler on the Roof tells of the advantages or riches. He sang,
If I were a rich man…..
I wouldn't have to work hard.
I'd build a big tall house with rooms by the dozen,
Right in the middle of the town.
A fine tin roof with real wooden floors below.
There would be one long staircase just going up,
And one even longer coming down,
And one more leading nowhere, just for show.
I'd fill my yard with chicks and turkeys and geese and ducks
For the town to see and hear.
If I were a rich man,
All day long I'd biddy biddy bum.
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn't have to work hard.
If I were a biddy biddy rich,
I see my wife, my Golde, looking like a rich man's wife
With a proper double-chin.
Supervising meals to her heart's delight.
I see her putting on airs and strutting like a peacock.
Oy, what a happy mood she's in.
Screaming at the servants, day and night.
The most important men in town would come to fawn on me!
They would ask me to advise them,
Like a Solomon the Wise.
"If you please, Reb Tevye..."
"Pardon me, Reb Tevye..."
Posing problems that would cross a rabbi's eyes!
And it won't make one bit of difference if i answer right or wrong.
When you're rich, they think you really know!
If I were rich, I'd have the time that I lack
To sit in the synagogue and pray.
And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall.
And I'd discuss the holy books with the learned men, several hours every day.
That would be the sweetest thing of all.
The first people Jesus saw in the temple was not the widow, but the rich. There are but few instances of specific “rich” people in the gospels Jesus met. First was the very sorrowful rich young ruler who claimed he kept previous commandments since youth, but could not keep Jesus’ three present commandments, in contrast to he: “sell” all he had, “give” to the poor, and “follow” the Lord (Luke 18:21-23). Another was the converted chief tax collector Zacchaeus (Luke 19:2), who gave half of his goods the poor and pledged to compensate fourfold those he defrauded (Luke 19:8). The third was disciple Joseph of Arimathaea, who asked Pilate for the body of Jesus (Matt 27:57-58). None of them got a bad name, a bad rap or a cold shoulder by Jesus. Jesus even loved the unrepentant rich, young ruler (Mark 10:21).
Giving is obligatory for the rich and the poor, man and woman, holy or hypocritical people. Jesus had never accused the rich of giving to flatter themselves, flaunt their money or further their own causes. He accused them previously of a life of greed (Luke 12:15, 16:14), not for the lack of giving.
Jesus was not against people who were rich, who became rich or who pursue riches. If there’s any blame in the rich the blame goes to the lack of concern for the poor. He was against them for being ungrateful, ungodly and ungenerous to God. God himself is rich, abundant in giving, freely give us all things (Rom 8:32). In the King James Version the Lord is rich in mercy (Eph 2:4, 1 Peter 1:3) and abundant in goodness and truth (Ex 34:6), and abundant in grace (2 Cor 4:15, 1 Tim 1:14).