The best part of the Lord's day: watching the widow give two copper coins Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4; 2Co 9:6-8
Day three of the Passion week:
While walking along on Solomon’s porch His authority is questioned:
Question of tribute to Caesar: Was Jesus a nationalist?
But what was the alternative here presented to Christ? To have said No, would have been to command rebellion; to have said simply Yes, would have been to give a painful shock to keep feeling, and, in a sense, in the eyes of the people, the lie to His own claim of being Israel’s Messiah-King!
But the Lord escaped from this ‘temptation’ - because, being of the truth, it was no real temptation to Him. Their knavery and hypocrisy He immediately perceived and exposed, in this also responding to their appeal of being ‘true.’
We disclaim the idea that Christ’s response was an evasion of the question rather than a reply. He was drawing attention to the real issue when He said, ‘What is Cæsar’s render to Cæsar, and what is God’s to God.’31
It did far more than rebuke their hypocrisy and presumption; it answered not only their question, but it settles to all time and for all circumstances the principle underlying it. Christ’s Kingdom is not of this world; a true Theocracy is not inconsistent with submission to the secular power in things that are really its own; politics and religion neither include, nor yet exclude, each other; they are, side by side, in different domains.
The State is Divinely sanctioned, and religion is Divinely sanctioned - and both are equally the ordinance of God. On this principle did Apostolic authority regulate the relations between Church and State, even when the latter was heathen (example: Rome under Nero).
The question about the limits of either church or state has been hotly discussed by sectarians on either side, who have claimed the saying of Christ is in support of one or the opposite extreme which they have advocated.
And yet, to the simple searcher after the simplicity of Christ, it seems not so difficult to see the distinction. When translating the scripture we must purge ourselves of logical refinements and strained references. Under the filling of the HS the truth of the word will speak its truth.
We don’t hear, “give to God what is Caesars and give to Caesar what is God’s,” even though it seems that preacher after preacher is after a certain percentage of your income – currency with the pictures of Presidents.
Yet a church does need finances to function, however those finances will flow from giving to God what is God’s – an attitude of grace and happiness of soul.
The scripture says that God loves a cheerful giver, not just a giver. If God sanctions a local assembly then He will bring in the givers (which always makes up a minority) who through their capacity to give will be blessed and given to. Therefore, this passage also speaks to the simple truth that a local assembly does not need to employ Madison Avenue techniques to raise money. That is mixing Caesar with God.
The two exist side by side, but they do not mix. Never confuse morality with the Christian way of life. A believer will be moral as he respects God’s laws of divine establishment, but he will also be spiritual, which goes miles beyond morality. Satan has successfully confused the church today into thinking that morality is the CWL.
Christ’s answer was not only most truthful, but of marvelous beauty and depth. It elevated the controversy into quite another sphere, where there was no conflict between what was due to God and to man - indeed, no conflict at all, but Divine harmony and peace.
Nor did it speak harshly of the Nationalist aspirations, nor yet plead the cause of Rome. It said not whether the rule of Rome was right or should be permanent - but only what all must have felt to be Divine. And so they, who had come to ‘entangle’ Him, ‘went away,’ not convinced nor converted, but marveling exceedingly.
And they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Him, in order to trap Him in a statement. 14 And they came and said to Him, "Teacher, we know that You are truthful, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not? 15 "Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?" But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, "Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius to look at." 16 And they brought one. And He said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" And they said to Him, "Caesar's." 17 And Jesus said to them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were amazed at Him.
We now move on to the best part of Christ’s day – when He observed the widow giving the temple minimum.
The widow’s mite:
And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And He saw a certain poor widow putting in two small copper coins. 3 And He said, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; 4 for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on."
And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the multitude were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. 43 And calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on. "
The rich were purchasing approbation from Jewish society while the widow gave all that she had without any fanfare or anyone knowing, in fact quite the opposite, her two copper pieces were most likely scoffed at by the others.
So we pass for the present from the irritating and trivial objections of the Sadducees and the opposition of the Scribes, we come unexpectedly on one of those sweet pictures - a historical miniature, as it is presented to us - which affords real relief to the eye amidst the religious glare all around.
From the bitter malice of His enemies and the predicted judgment upon them, we turn to the silent worship of her who gave her all, and to the words with which Jesus owned it, all unknown to her.
And this is something about this event that I’ve missed my whole life. The Lord never said a word to this woman and therefore she never knew of the praise that the Lord gave her. She never knew that the Lord was watching her and in fact she probably still doesn’t know because the evaluation of the body of Christ hasn’t occurred yet. We can assume that she entered the CA which would start in less than 2 months and so now in her interim body, she still hasn’t heard the Lord’s praise.
In contrast to the arrogant Pharisees who sought to trap the Lord in their concerns about what belongs to God and were paying taxes robbing God, we see the humble worship of a poor woman who truly gives to the Lord what was His – her life!!
It’s not a matter of giving all the money you have to the church, rather it is a matter of your attitude towards the Lord.
There is one who scatters, yet increases all the more,
And there is one who withholds what is justly due, but it results only in want.
25 The generous man will be prosperous,
And he who waters will himself be watered.
Believers who say that they have the mind of Christ and yet do not give are lying to themselves. The mind of Christ is giving, serving, humility, all by means of grace without strings attached.
2 Cor 8:1-9
Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, 2 that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. 3 For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability they gave of their own accord, 4 begging us with much entreaty for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, 5 and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. 6 Consequently we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this gracious work as well. 7 But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also. 8 I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
2 Cor 9:6-15
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. 7 Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; 9 as it is written,
"He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor,
His righteousness abides forever."
10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; 11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. 13 Because of the proof given by this ministry they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, 14 while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!