No. 25 – The Widow and the copper coin – Lord of the purse?
Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4
This poor lady was coming with the crowd into the Temple, and Jesus had just been teaching in the Temple courts about the dangers of the religious people and teachers of the Law and their desire to walk around showing off their wealth. Jesus was highlighting this woman’s behaviour in order to instruct the people on how they should behave towards money. There is so much in the Word about money, and Jesus knew it was a subject that should be talked about out in the open. In Luke 16:10-13 there is the money test! Jesus telling the story of the shrewd manager who had wasted his bosses’ possessions, challenging us that he who is dishonest with little will be dishonest with much. Also if we can’t be responsible with money how can we be trusted with the true riches of the Kingdom of God? In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus clearly shows us that where our heart is our treasure will also be. If God has our heart He should also have our finances. If we want to know where our hearts are, we can look to see where our money goes, is it totally used for ourselves or for His Kingdom?
Jesus gives us a wonderful example here of how to give and also how not to give to God’s work, Malachi 3:7-12; 2 Corinthians 8:2-4; Philippians 4:14-19. God wants us to be like Him, He is a giver, He gave the best He had, His Son Jesus Christ! When we give on a regular basis into a Church, ministry or individuals we are giving into God’s work as He works out His plans and His purposes in the world. We live in a world system where money counts and many Christians have discovered that there are biblical principles that need to be learned, 2 Corinthians 9:6-12; Luke 6:38. We must understand the unique relationship between giving and receiving, remembering that we cannot out-give God. Giving to the work of God is a practical way of showing our love for Jesus, 1 Corinthians 13:3, and remembering that it is more blessed to give than to receive, Acts 20:35.
Firstly we are to give to God:-
1. With a cheerful heart, freely, abundantly; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
2. In proportion to our income and regularly; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Philippians 4:15-16.
3. Obediently; 2 Corinthians 9:13.
4. With a willing heart, not under any compulsion; 1 Chronicles 29:3-9.
5. Sacrificially; Hebrews 13:16
The biblical principle of giving is that we must give to God first. This widow knew this principle so she was able to give her all, knowing He would not let her down.
Giving will spread the Gospel, Romans 10:14-15; Proverbs 17:8.
Giving results in receiving. Luke 6:38, Galatians 6:7-10.
Giving is a blessing from God with a large return. Luke 6:3
Giving will bring you before godly men. Proverbs 18:16.
Giving will stop anger, Proverbs 21:14.
Giving will bring friends, Proverbs 19:6; Hebrews 13:16.
Giving opens the door for God to work, Malachi 3:10.
Giving has an eternal reward, 1 Timothy 6:17-19.
Old Testament Biblical tithing is giving a tenth of all that we receive. This is not a donation but recognition of what God has given to us. It is an ACT OF WORSHIP. Everything we have belongs to the Lord and He has entrusted us with ninety percent of the money. The New Testament biblical tithing clearly states that our giving must be in the light of Jesus’ giving, i.e. it cost Him everything, it was sacrificial, He offered up everything, even His life to God for us. Meditate “from everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded, and from one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48. Not to tithe (giving to God) is to rob God and to deprive ourselves of God’s blessing, Malachi 3:8- 12; Proverbs 3:9-10.
Giving and receiving!
‘Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God’. 2 Corinthians 9:10-11.
So God is saying that He gives us everything, He tells us what to do with it and He also gives us the return when we invest it in His Kingdom. As we remember that God owns everything when He tells us to give something we must obey immediately and cheerfully, not bargaining with Him, or reasoning!
Remember He is our source, so we must always look to Him for return and provision. At the end of the day even our salary, pension, benefit cheque, is from Him and under His direction. Kind family, friends or charities are not our source or provision, He is leading them even if they don’t realise it. We cannot take any of it with us, as obviously the widow was well aware of, so she invested her all in the Kingdom of God. Jesus has prepared our dream home in Heaven already, John 14:1-3, so let us get more excited about that, than cleaning the home where we have invested all our money and energy while not praying or studying the Word enough which has eternal value! Matthew 6:20-21. Every spending decision is a spiritual decision; our bank account reflects our priorities, stop and check up! As we have given God our heart we should have no trouble giving Him our money.
The Macedonian Christians were recommended by Paul for right giving in 2 Corinthians 8:3-5 ‘For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do’.
This is why the Philippian Church was so successful as they dealt with their money God’s way. They were begging to give, even though they didn’t have a lot themselves. They completely understood the power in partnering in the Gospel, Philippians 4:10-20. They made sure that however tough it was for them, they had to give financial support to Paul so he could continue to spread the Truth world wide, and not be limited by his lack of funds. They also knew that as they gave sacrificially to him there was a partnership entered into where they joined with him in his work and their account was credited by God Himself, the ‘harvest of blessing’, Philippians 4:17 Amp.
Paul promises that following their generous and sacrificial giving ‘my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus’ Don’t take this out of context without fulfilling the first part of this passage. No person who is out preaching the Gospel should be begging for money; we should be desperate to support them because we understand God’s financial principles, we will never miss out. Just like the widow we will receive a commendation from Jesus Himself if we give our all.
We should give freely and without compulsion (no wrong pressure). The underlying factor is that God knows our hearts and giving to God should always be a heart response. He is a good Father who knows what is best and is interested in every facet of our lives, but He also knows our motives in giving. It is not a matter of giving for our own self-interest or gain or self-indulgence.
As women of FAITH we sow for God, if He directs us to sow our talents, time, money, resources, energy and even life itself we will do just that. We need to believe the promises of God, that He will give back to us one hundred fold whatever we give, Mark 10:29-30. This is not to be our main motive, but our concern is for the increase of the Kingdom of God here on earth. Matthew 6:33 tells us to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be ADDED TO YOU”. Jesus encourages us to ask our Father in heaven for the things we require here on earth, Luke 11:9-13, as we obey in giving He will make sure we are cared for and all we need will be supplied. Often this will be at the last minute but even Jesus Himself was late paying His taxes, Matthew 17:24-27! He is asking us to walk a journey with Him of sacrificial giving and blessed receiving which can be very exciting and a great testimony to share with the world in these tough times.
Proverbs gives some practical instruction on the use of money, although sometimes it is advice we would rather not hear. It’s more comfortable to continue in our habits than to learn to use money more wisely.
The advice includes:
Advance the cause of righteousness with money, don’t squander it: Proverbs 10:16.
Be generous: Proverbs 11:24-25; Proverbs 22:9
Place people’s needs ahead of profit: Proverbs 11:26
Be cautious of countersigning for another: Proverbs 17:18; Proverbs 11:15; Proverbs 22:26-27
Don’t accept bribes: Proverbs 17:23; Proverbs 25:14
Help the poor: Proverbs 19:17; Proverbs 21:13; Proverbs 22:9
Save for the future: Proverbs 21:20
Be careful about borrowing: Proverbs 20:16; Proverbs 22:7
So if Jesus was watching as the offering plate went round would we change our giving? Each time God asks us to give He watches our obedience, our attitude. He measures our giving not by how much we give but by how much we keep?
No.25 – The Widow and the copper coin – Lord of the purse? Challenge Questions
Read all the notes about the widow and the copper coin
Warning! Some may feel the first 6 questions are too personal! You do not need to answer in class but please answer before God, as we are all accountable to Him for how we are dealing with all money, little or large.
1. What has really challenged you from these notes and what do you feel God wants you to do about it?
2. Why do you think money is generally very difficult to talk about?
3. Do you think ‘tithing’ is an Old Testament law or is it relevant today? Give Bible reasons for your opinion.
4. Who do you think you should give your money to and why? Do you always give it to Church, then you give more to charities or people in need?
5. Is your giving a habit or different every month?
6. From the Proverbs verses mentioned in this study which one really spoke to you and why? Write it out here
Read Matthew 15:21-28 and Mark 7:24-30
7. Read the two passages in as many versions as possible. If you have access to the Internet use Bible Gateway. Which region was Jesus withdrawing to?
8. What was the nationality of the woman who came to Jesus? Was she a Jew?
9. What was the disciples attitude to this woman?
10. What is our attitude to outcasts in our society? Or even people who keep bothering us?
11. What was Jesus’ reply to the disciples’ request? What does He mean by what He says? Matthew 15:24
12. What do you think was the lesson Jesus was trying to teach all who were watching?
13. Describe the character of this desperate mother.
14. What do you understand as the meaning of Jesus’ reference to ‘dogs’ and her reply?
15. What fantastic compliment did Jesus pay this lady and what was the outcome for her?
16. How do you think any religious people round Jesus on that day would feel about what He said?
17. Who do you know who needs healing today? Can you bring them to Jesus today
18. Sum up in one short sentence what has challenged you in this study.