“Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all.” (Luke 21:3)
To the wealthy and religious leaders of the time this would have been a most unwelcome and repugnant statement.
The rich were the ones who put the most money into the treasury and sustained the religious system. The widow’s monetarily insignificant offering would make no difference to the treasury of the temple. It could have been lost in the dust on the ground for all the financial difference it would make.
Jesus is commenting not on the amount of money given but the kind and amount of faith behind the offering. Giving to the Lord in monetary terms has nothing to do with God needing money. What purpose would God have for gold since He is able to create it out of nothing?
The widow gave all that she had. We might rationalise that she ought to have kept it for her next meal and given when she was better able. However, she preferred to give it and trust God for her next meal.
The better off people who put in much more in monetary terms still had ample left over for many meals and had no need to trust God for the next meal.
Giving is an expression of faith in God. The expression of that faith may be by obedience to His command to provide for the ministry of His church, to missions or in compassion on one in need but first and foremost it is an expression of faith and therefore it is also worship.
Jesus says that giving should not be related to whether we will have enough for our next meal or not.
The fact is that Jesus does not want our money, He wants us. Our money without ourselves is like the rich who put in out of their abundance. When you first give yourself (2 Corinthians 8:5) you give in faith in Jesus Christ who first gave Himself to and for you. You know that you are no longer your own and that you and all you have is His for His disposal. This is the kind of faith for which the widow woman was commended. It isn’t wrong or ungodly to be well off materially unless it becomes the object of our faith in place of Jesus Christ. It has then become our god and idol.
It is God’s pleasure that we enact the dependence that in actuality we have in Him. The better off we are materially, the more difficult that becomes. The temptation is to trust in our own ability or wealth instead of the Lord’s faithfulness. It is quite clear that the widow woman’s trust was wholly in the Lord.