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Luke 21





 

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During World War 2, Polish Priest Maximilian Kolbe was arrested by German officers for hiding Jewish and Polish refugees from the Nazis. He was taken to a concentration camp to pay for this crime. One day, three prisoners had escaped from the Auschwitz concentration camp, so the commander issued orders to pick 10 prisoners at random who would be starved to death in order to deter future escape attempts.


One of the 10 men selected, named Francis, began to cry out, “My wife! My children! I will never see them again!” It was then that Priest Kolbe stepped forward, removed his cap, and said, “Let me take his place. For I am old while he has a wife and children”. The commander honored the request and took the priest to the starvation cell where he would later die. The priest had given everything he had, including his life, for someone he didn’t know. Everyone loves a hero story like this where one person does the unimaginable and gives all they have for the sake of someone else.


Luke 21 opens with the story of a Widow’s Offering. Jesus was in the Temple and watched as man rich people and religious leaders dropped offering into the collection box. Jesus watched as a poor widow came and gave two small coins in the offering.


Look at what Jesus says in verse 3:

“I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.


The woman had only dropped in two small coins, yet Jesus says that she has given everything. In the Greek, the actual word for those two small coins was Lepta. The Lepta was the smallest coin in all of the Jewish currency, similar to the modern-day penny. This woman had given the modern equivalent to two pennies in the offering, but Jesus honors her by saying she gave more than all of the rich who gave. How could this be?


This scripture teaches us a lesson on how God evaluates giving. The first principle we have to realize is that a gift is not measured by the amount alone, but by the sacrifice involved in giving. In this instance, the rich had given large amounts to the offering, but the amount came out of their comfort and surplus. There was no sacrifice through their large giving, and it required no trust. But when you look at the poor widow, she gave out of her financial need and trusted that God would provide for her. When she dropped the two coins into the offering, Jesus says that she gave everything she has which leads us to believe that it was the only money she had. She gave as much as she possibly could. Through this act of giving, she sacrificed and trusted in God.


The second principle we learn from the widow is this type of giving goes beyond our finances. This type of sacrifice needs to be applied in all our service to the Lord. God doesn’t judge our ministry and service to the Kingdom based on size, influence, or success, but by our dedication, sacrifice, and love. We have to be careful as believers not to become like the rich people in our scripture who dropped in their large offerings for all to see and hear. We are to be like the poor widow, who sacrificially gave all that she had without expecting to be praised or admired. When we give of ourselves or our time for God’s Kingdom, we should do so in a way that points all praise to God and not ourselves.


It’s easy for us as Christians to get so wrapped up in being known for what we do, how much we give, and where we’ve been, because we like to try and impress others. But we should strive for people to know WHY we serve and give the way we do. We give because Christ has already given. You and I have been given the life we don’t deserve because of the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross.


Philippians 2 says that we are to have the same attitude as Christ did when he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on the cross. You and I are called to humble ourselves in obedience by giving all that we have for the Kingdom of God.


We love to read about hero stories where someone gives it all, but it’s a lot tougher to be the one sacrificing. Today I want to remind you that as painful as giving and sacrifice can be, that we can never out-give God. Just as Jesus saw the widow who gave her two small coins, God sees your faithfulness to be obedient and will honor you for it when you give from a place of trust.of Jesus’ playbook and ask a question in return to learn why they are asking it.

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