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The Poor Widow Of Luke 21 And Tithing

For those who know me and read my articles you know that I do not believe that tithing is a New Testament teaching.  I hold to this thinking for various reasons that I will not repeat now.  You can learn my reasons from other articles  

When I say such a thing as "the New Testament does not promote giving a tenth", it seems to cause such an explosion in people's minds that they don't hear anything else I have to say on this subject.  They don't hear me tell the rest of the story. 

So if you can let the dust settle in your mind from the explosion, here is the rest of the story. The New Testament clearly teaches that we should give "joyfully and generously according to our ability to give.".   Paul says it well in 2 Cor. 9:7.  He says, "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly nor under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

I know the context of these words.  Paul is speaking about a special collection he was taking up for the poor saints in Jerusalem.  Therefore some suggest that this offering is an extra offering that was given over and above the tithe.  That's speculative because the New Testament is silent on that point.  I believe that Paul's words represent his teaching on giving.  You give what "you have decided" to give.  Note "you decide to give and how much to give".  Also note we should not give "reluctantly or under compulsion".  How many times as a child did I hear and see offering pleas lasting 20 minutes in a church service.  That's compulsion.

What I really want to say in this article is concerning how Jesus felt about giving out of one's poverty.  Some might say they are too poor to give.  Let's see what Jesus thinks about that.  

We all know the story found in Luke 21, verses 1 through 5.  Jesus is sitting on the Temple steps.  He looked up and saw this poor widow giving her last two coins into the Temple treasury.  She had no husband to support her and she was extremely poor.  

Jesus praised this lady for giving, not a tithe (10%) but all she had (100%).  She was very poor and had little chance of making money.  Jesus did not try to stop her from giving because she was poor. He did not suggest that she should not give the next time she was at the Temple.  He simply praised her for giving away the last bit of money she had. 

What we learn here is that Jesus didnít view poverty as an excuse not to give.  This is the rest of the story.  The New Testament teaches us to give joyfully and generously according to our ability, and poverty is no excuse not to give. 

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