Some things never change!

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.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cher
    Aug 23, 2011 @ 16:54:29

    I like this. I don’t have much to say except that I like what you have to say. You seem to bring new light to common topics, which is what I like.
    I was wondering, are you a pastor? Also, what denomination are you?

    Reply

    • eliteinchrist
      Aug 24, 2011 @ 10:15:12

      Hi Cher,

      Thanks for the kind words. I indeed used to be a pastor and was a staunch believer in denomination but not anymore. Personal ideologies and man-made philosophies have been preached as God’s word for far too long and this has become acceptable.

      I stumbled upon someone’s piece on the widow and it prompted me to fully research it as in the past I used to think that this built a case for sacrificial giving and thought Jesus was commending the actions of the widow. That was until I read that portion of scripture in different bible translations. I discovered that Jesus was alarmed that the widow had put in her entire livelihood into the treasury when no aspect of the Law (which was still in operation) demanded this.

      Some would like to argue that it was a tithe but no verse of scripture commands tithes to be given in this fashion as money cannot be tithed. The only time money was ever associated with tithes was God’s command to those who lived far away from the venue of the tithing banquet: they were to convert their tithes into its monetary value and spend every single penny on anything they liked! It was not supposed to be brought into the temple. And this made me search scriptures to find any reference to bringing money into the treasury, that was when I discovered that the only monies ever brought into the treasury was the tax imposed on every male over the age of 20.

      The Law required that widows be taken care of and not taken advantage of but the teachers of the law in Jesus’ day were doing exactly that. And like many of today’s preachers everything had to be about money to them. The teachers of the law encouraged people to neglect their parents by bringing money for their upkeep into the temple (strangely, this happens in today’s church). They even said that if anyone swore by the temple, it would not be binding but if they swore by the gold in the temple it was binding. And this prompted Jesus to ask them which was greater, the temple or the gold.

      Anyways, these days I tend to focus more on a personal relationship with God as opposed to denominations as they are simply politics dressed up in nice little Christian frocks.

      God bless.

      Reply

  2. Cher
    Aug 26, 2011 @ 18:16:08

    hehe…I like the comments on denominations. My husband and I are currently “churchless”, if you will. We are not church hoppers, but have been very disheartened by the church as a whole in our area. I think God might be letting us go through this time to see how much the church and the body needs help. Either church’s are building new unnecessary additions, they are not friendly, they are more like a business, or they preach the milk but no meat. Ahhhhh!!! I know there are no perfect churches, but we’re not asking for that anyway. Just less of men and more of God in a church. We are seeing too many church’s just play church.
    My husband started thinking maybe he should give up being a computer consultant and go to school to be a Pastor. I told him, “great!, because we already have experience in leading worship.” So we’re all set, lol!
    Anyway, the rest of what you wrote here is like a continuation or beginning of your recent blog…good stuff 🙂 Keeps my brain ticking. I may just forget about the whole church thing…reading your blog’s gives me the type of teaching I would want to get at a church. Teaching that makes me really think and gives me a challenge, ya know? I had previously attended a church like this. The pastor was really a teacher who really studied and researched the Bible. He ended up becoming a chaplain in the army.

    Reply

  3. eliteinchrist
    Aug 27, 2011 @ 19:23:39

    I feel you. as a young christian, I was actually mentored by a pastor with a fantastic teaching ministry. He helped shape the way I look at the bible and that has helped me tremendously.

    If you ask me, I don’t think your husband should give up his career to become a pastor. He can always do it on a part time basis though. About churches, not to worry as God never leaves Himself without a witness. Am certain that they are many preachers out there who preach and teach God’s word without compromise and may the Lord order our steps to such people.

    Reply

  4. boldproclaimer
    Oct 21, 2015 @ 04:23:32

    Wgrear article!

    And notice right after pointing out the widow’s oppressors, Jesus tells Those listening that the Temple will be destroyed.

    And, that prophecy came true in AD 70 when Titus marched on Jerusalem.

    But why did this destruction of the Temple happen? Because the religious leaders were oppressing the poor. God was fulfilling a promise He made back in Exoduss 22:21-24. He said if the widows were oppressed, He would kill the oppressors with the sword. The army of Titus was carrying that sword, and they killed many religious leaders in the Temple in AD 70.

    Reply

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