Tithing or God's Grace. Which Prospers You? Part 2
Welcome to our little chat about tithing or God's grace . I was watching Christian television the other morning and listening to what they were implying. They were talking about the parable of the widow's offering and making it sound like Jesus was just so pleased with the fact that she gave all she had to live on. After I finished stabbing myself in the eye with a fork I thought to myself, don't these so called men of God know how to meditate the word.
You never and I mean never lift a verse out of it's setting. Jesus always taught in whole subjects. The key is to find the beginning of the subject and then find the end. Perhaps part of the confusion here with the widow's offering is that most modern translations put a sub heading right in the middle of this teaching as though Jesus had changed the topic which he clearly had not.
Here is how it should read: Luke 20:45 While all the people were listening Jesus said to his disciples, " Beware of the teachers of the law. They walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the market places and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They DEVOUR WIDOW'S HOUSES and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished and most severely." As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. " I tell you the truth" he said " this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on." Some of his disciples were remarking how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with the gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said "As for what you see here not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down."
As you can see the beginning of the topic is the teachers of the law (or the religious hypocrites of the day). He then points out how proud they were and how they DEVOUR WIDOW'S HOUSES. How do they do that you ask? Jesus looks up into the temple to show you how she just put her last two small coins into the offering and now she has nothing to live on. In other words they taught her a doctrine that she needed to give BIG even all her living. In other words she just gave all her rent money or all she had to live on. Kind of like what we hear on Christian TV today. Does it sound to you like he is endorsing giving all you have to live on or is he REBUKING what is going on here?
The reason I know he is not pleased is the very next thing he says is" do you see this temple". All this is going to be torn down. Or in other words I am changing this whole religious set up! No it doesn't sound like he was pleased with what he just saw at all. It's amazing what you can discern when you start at the beginning of a topic and follow it to the end.
Furthermore there is no doctrine in the old testament that says that the financial burdens of the temple should be carried on the backs of widows. Also in many places in the new testament Jesus councils us to give to the poor. Not take the last few dollars they have. How could Jesus possibly be saying that he recommends what they taught this poor widow to do. He would be contradicting himself.
No clearly to me this is a recommendation of what not to do. Beware of teachers that teach you false doctrine! Our giving should be a fruit of the grace and abundance he has poured out on us. If we are hard pressed financially God is totally there and will take us back to abundance by his grace and grace alone. NEVER do we need to give what we don't have to somehow BUY God's favor. It has already been provided for us through Jesus. Stay tuned for part 3.