41Jesus was sitting in the temple near the offering box and watching people put in their gifts. He noticed that many rich people were giving a lot of money. 42Finally, a poor widow came up and put in two coins that were worth only a few pennies. 43Jesus told his disciples to gather around him. Then he said: I tell you that this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 44Everyone else gave what they didn’t need. But she is very poor and gave everything she had. Now she doesn’t have a cent to live on. Mark 12
The common trend amongst today’s Christians particularly amongst popular tele-evangelists is to conform scriptures to suit their beliefs. And as far as they are concerned, everything has to point to money in one way or the other. Money is most definitely their God.
Nearly everyone who has attended church has heard this story of the widow preached just before offering time. It is usually employed to tug on the heart strings of the faithful to ensure they part with large sums of money under the guise of funding God’s work.
Did Jesus use this scenario to teach tithing, firstfruits or sacrificial giving? I would say no to all three. Obviously, this had no bearing on tithing and firstfruits as money could never be given as tithes or firstfruits. And nowhere in scripture are we encouraged in scripture to give our entire livelihood to fund ‘God’s’ work.
On careful study of scripture, we see that a lot of things are off with this widow’s offering as there is no portion of scripture that commands widows to give their livelihood to the treasury. Instead, Jesus used the plight of this widow to highlight the false teachings of the teachers of the law. The poor widow had been cheated out of her home!
38As Jesus was teaching, he said: Guard against the teachers of the Law of Moses! They love to walk around in long robes and be greeted in the market. 39They like the front seats in the meeting places and the best seats at banquets. 40But they cheat widows out of their homes and pray long prayers just to show off. They will be punished most of all. Mark 12
In the Old Testament, God did command that all males over 20 years of age should pay ransom money for the upkeep of the tabernacle. The same amount was levied on both the rich and poor but there was no mention of widows ever paying such dues. The manipulation of the Pharisees and Sadducees was definitely at work.
14 All who have reached their twentieth birthday must give this sacred offering to the Lord. 15 When this offering is given to the Lord to purify your lives, making you right with him, the rich must not give more than the specified amount, and the poor must not give less. 16 Receive this ransom money from the Israelites, and use it for the care of the Tabernacle. It will bring the Israelites to the Lord’s attention, and it will purify your lives.” Exodus 30
This same manipulation is still very much evident in much of today’s church. Unscrupulous preachers twist scriptures to ensure they continue to receive a steady revenue stream.