Luke 21:1 Commentary - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New TestamentAt the door of the temple, through which all the people passed in and out, who came up three times a year at the solemn feasts, to worship Almighty God in his own house, there was a chest set, (like the poor man's box in some of our churches,) into which all persons cast their free-will offerings and oblations, which were employed either for the use of the poor, or for the service of the temple; and what was thus given, our Saviour calls an offering to God, verse 4. These of their abundance have cast in unto the offerings of God.
Thence learn, that what we rightly give to the relief of the poor, or for the service and towards the support of God's public worship, is consecrated to God, and as such is accepted of him, and ought to be esteemed by us.
Observe, 2. With what pleasure and satisfaction our Saviour sets himself to view those offerings, He beheld the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.
Thence note, that our Saviour sets himself to view those offerings, He beheld the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.
Thence note, that our Saviour sees with pleasure, and beholds with delight, whatever we have hearts to give unto him; whether for the relief of his members, or for the support of his service. Oh blessed Saviour, while now thou sits at thy Father's right hand in glory, thou sees every hand that is stretched forth to the relief of thy poor members here on earth.
Verse 2, But a certain poor widow cast in two mites. Several circumstances relating both to the person and the action are here observable: as 1. The person that offered was a widow: the married woman is under the careful provision of her husband; if she spends, he earns; but the widow has no hands but her own to work for her.
Observe, 2. She was a poor widow; poverty added to the sorrow of her widowhood, she had no rich jointure to live upon; it is some alleviation of the sorrow that attends widowhood, when the hand is left full, though the bed be left empty: this widow was needy and desolate, but yet gives; some in her circumstances would have looked upon themselves as having a right to receive what was given by others, rather than give anything themselves.
Observe, 3. Her bounty and munificence in giving; her two mites are proclaimed by Christ to be more than all the rich men's talents: more in respect to the mind and affection of the giver: more with respect to the proportion of the gift; a mite to her being more than pounds to others. Pounds were little to them; two mites were all to her, she leaves herself nothing; so that the poor woman gave not only more than any of them all, but more than they all. Christ's eye looked at once into the bottom of her purse, and into the bottom of her heart, and judged of the offering, rather by the mind of the giver than by the value of the gift.
From this instance we learn,
1. That the poorer, yea the poorest sort of people, are not exempted from good works; but even they must and ought to exercise charity according to their ability. This poor widow, that had not a pound, no, not a penny, presents God with a farthing.
2. That in all works of pious charity which we perform, God looks at the heart, the will, and the affection of the giver, more than at the largeness and liberality of the gift. It is not said, the Lord loves a liberal giver, but a cheerful giver; He accepteth the gift according to what a man hath, and not according to what he hath not.
Oh, our God! The poorest of us thy servants have our two mites also, a soul and a body; persuade and enable us to offer them both unto thee: though they are thine already, yet thou wilt graciously accept them: and oh how happy shall we be in thy acceptation!
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Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament
William Burkitt (1650 - 1703) was a Church of England clergyman, bible expositor, and devotional writer.
Volume 1: Matthew - John, was published in 1700.
Volume 2: Acts - Revelation was published 1703.