Read Luke 21
The Widow’s Offering
21 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times
5 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”
7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”
8 He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”
10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.
12 “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.
20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
29 He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
32 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
37 Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, 38 and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.
Generosity is a Christian virtue. The Lord calls us to be generous with our time, finances, energy, love, and effort (2 Corinthians 12:15, 1 Thessalonians 2:8, Luke 21:1-4). We are shown, by the generosity of the widow and Christ’s response to it, generosity is not measured by how much we give, but by the attitude of our heart in giving.
The Lord so graciously provides for us! Everything that we have comes from His faithful provision, given to us for His glory and, in turn, our fulfillment (James 1:17, Isaiah 43:7). This includes gifts of finances, residence, occupation, energy, and anything else you have the pleasure of stewarding. If we believe that He has provided all things, our posture should be to allow Him control of these provisions, and the writing of His story in our lives. We are called to open our palms and stop holding so tightly to our worldly affections. He wants to use you in much more than you could ever imagine!
In the foretelling of much destruction, famine, and hatred, it is tempting for this to be a discouraging message. In reality, this is a kind message from our Savior. The reminder that all is fading, war will commence, and suffering will surely come (Luke 21:5-24) is proposed clearly by our King Jesus to direct our eyes toward eternity. He tells His people and the readers of the current day these things to point to His coming and eternal message (Luke 21:33), that no lasting hope is found apart from Him. Our greatest joys, pleasures, and paths are found in our relationship with Him.
The conclusion of this passage is where we find hope. We are not to be discouraged or distracted by the dealings of this world! We shall suddenly stand before Him on the day of His coming (Luke 21:34-36, 2 Timothy 2:21-22). Each detail of our lives only exists to bring glory to our Lord in a way that is original and purposeful. The submission of our lives to Christ-like humility, generosity, and obedience is where we find our greatest joys, though the world insists on a different message (John 15:10-11, Romans 12:1-2, 1 Peter 5:6). Jesus is enough!
- Is Christ your highest hope each day? Why or why not?
- Do you entrust all of your possessions and provisions into the hands of the Lord? What might you be clinging too tightly to?
- Where can you grow in your generosity?
Jesus, I submit all that I have to you. Every gift, opportunity, trait, relationship, and all things, I rest at your feet. Lord, grow in me a divine humility, generosity, patience, and peace. Help me to trust you unconditionally. You are enough, lead me into living fully for you.
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