Tithing the Widow’s Mites


It may be because tithing settlement is upcoming in my local ward, but I recently had my attention drawn to a particular story in the scriptures.  To be frank, I know that my position with how I relate to the church is idiosyncratic.  My opinion about the present order of things is far too critical for most of my mainstream peers [I admit they’re problems with how Mormonism is governed by the men in Salt Lake and I admit there are alternate ways for people to legitimately be “LDS”] — but I’m far too generous for any among the critical crowd [I believe that the LDS church is literally the true church of Jesus Christ and don’t support an “All is lost, corrupt-apostasy, JUMP ship” view of things].

In any event, this last week I was reminded of the story of the widow and her two pennies.  At a point when Jesus had already condemned the religious establishment of his day as corrupt,

woe unto you
scribes and
pharisees
hypocrites!

and when he had already tossed his hands up in derision at the apostasy he saw present in the management of God’s temple,

behold
your house is left unto you desolate
and truly I say unto you
you shall not see me
until the time come when you shall say

blessed is he
that comes in the name of YHVH

the scriptures say that:

he looked up
and saw rich men casting their gifts into the treasury
and he saw also a certain poor widow
casting in two pennies
and he said

truly I say unto you
that this poor widow has cast in more than they all
for all these have given
of their abundance unto the offerings of God
but she
out of her poverty
has cast in all of the living that she had

Here we see Jesus referring to what was obviously an abused receptacle of money as “the offerings of God”.  Here we see Jesus approving of an impoverished widow submitting what little money she had into the coffers of a corrupt and wealthy religious establishment.

To me, the same applies to the criticisms that people make about things like the encouraging of leader-worship, relying on the corrupt works of our own efforts, the lack prophecy and revelation coming from the men sustained as prophets and revelators, using the tithing funds to have sufficient for our needs and then investing the difference for usury, etc., etc.

Do I think such concerns are valid?  Absolutely.  But it is my belief that it is still the church of God that is doing those things.  We have not ceased to be the Lord’s people because of these condemnable works.  The church of Christ can remain “true” while being “dead” and “damned” [see D&C 84:54-57].

For the last couple years, there’s been a lot of attention on blogs about the “corporate Church”, [the “Church™” as opposed to “the church”, etc.] — and more especially since the whole City Creek Center things was announced, built, and opened.  Although it is true that none of us [except Thomas Monson] is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints™ corporation — it is my understanding that every latter-day saint was confirmed a member of “the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints.”

While we know how to spell the name of the corporate Church, including where the capitalization and the dash goes [it’s a trademarked letterhead and defined in the corporate charter] — on the other, the name of the Lord’s true church is never spelled, it is only spoken as hands are laid on a person’s head and they are confirmed a member of it and commanded to receive the Holy Ghost.  This latter church may, or may not, contain a dash and capitalization — we don’t know.

When the Lord refers to his “church”, it is always in reference to a living body of people — not to some non-existent, non-living, non-corporeal, legal corporate entity.  That’s why you see Jesus not giving a hoot whether the temple treasury where the widow was submitting her pennies was “corrupt” or not.

Of real concern to me, is not the corruption and break-up of the corporate LDS Church — but the corruption and break-up of the latter day church [meaning seeing the members dividing into a plurality of separate, wicked churches].  That is where my focus is, on the LDS church — on the people.  We cannot call the LDS church [people] out of the LDS Church [the corporation], because they were never a part of it to begin with [the Church President is always ever the only member].

We, like the widow that Jesus observed, must assert our rights as confirmed members of “the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints” and turn the tide in the Lord’s favor — allowing for the wicked and corrupt influences to be exposed in the open light, right smack in the middle of the church, where observant people can be influenced, so that they can make an informed decision as to who they will follow [whether that be Jesus Christ or other men].

Next Article by Justin:  Master, Master, We Perish

Previous Article by Justin:  Judging

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17 Comments

  1. The latest groups (they’re not called “churches”) called for by Denver Snuffer seem to be yet another fracturing of the church, but it doesn’t appear to me to be all that big of a movement. Perhaps it will get bigger, but I doubt it. I suppose that the New Order Mormons are growing, but even there, there doesn’t seem to be much open opposition that will fracture the church in a big way. I know there is division on the same sex marriage and women holding priesthood topics, but nothing, as yet, (at least that I see), appears to be a powder keg ready to explode. I suppose if I ever get around to releasing the research I did some months ago, that it may cause a bit of a ruckus among those that read it, but considering what my other posts have caused, I just expect people to simply criticize the author (me) and not take it as gospel. I don’t expect anyone to believe a single word of it. Nevertheless, if there are people that do believe it, then it will certainly cause yet another division, for I am quite certain there will very many people (if not all of them) who will oppose it. But will it be enough to cause great division in the church? Certainly not. So, I think the church will stay quite cohesive until some very major event happens, such as the gift of the working of miracles being active again in the church. That would definitely create the required division, especially if the person working miracles was not approved by the leadership.

  2. If tithing is being wasted, our duty is to vote out the waste and wasters, not to abandon the people you see as”blind” “unquestioning” or brainwashed to abuse and robbery. Find another church on earth where every member has equal voting power on who will hold the highest office in the church. No other church has the blessing of voting out apostate leadership..

    an analogy my sister uses is that of an alcoholic beggar, you still have a duty to give offerings to him, but if you knowing

  3. Anon — I can’t quite tell what point you were trying to make, but I still find myself contemplating the fact that at a point when Jesus had already condemned the “church” of His day as corrupt, and when He had already turned His back on the “official” temple as being an utterly corrupt institution — He still refers to that receptacle of money as “the offerings of God”.

    Jesus approved of an impoverished widow submitting what little she had into the coffers of a corrupt and wealthy religious establishment. I find that highly applicable to the situation today.

  4. Justin,

    Have you written anything about who will occupy the Latter day Zion, how many saints will occupy it, and what it takes to become a part of it? Would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

    Thank you.

  5. Not a post or anything — I’m sure there’s some comments I’ve written scattered about.

    How many saints, I don’t know — but they’d definitely been latter day saints of the church of jesus christ [not the corporate church “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsTM</sup" mind you, but the body of justified believers in Christ]. They will be baptized and confirmed members of "the church of jesus christ of latter day saints".

    Only those who are sanctified [a "saint"] can establish Zion.

  6. Where does it say that Jesus either approved or disapproved? Isn’t that a personal interpretation or assumption? He simply made the statement that the poor woman gave more than the rich men. This is obviously a case of Jesus using the apparent to point out something more than meets the eye. Why then should we assume that Jesus was concerned with the money itself, the treasury itself or the church itself in a literal sense at all, when he made it pretty clear that he was apolitical/non religious and his kingdom was not of this world?

  7. Anon,

    Note the text:

    truly I say unto you
    that this poor widow has cast in more than they all
    for all these have given
    of their abundance unto the offerings of God
    but she
    out of her poverty
    has cast in all of the living that she had

    He calls the place where both the rich men and the poor woman were casting their money “the offerings of God“. So it’s not a personal interpretation or assumption.

    Referring to the receptacle of money as “the offerings of God” denotes that the offerings placed in there were legitimately regarded as offerings to God. Jesus accepts the widow’s offering — even though she was submitting what little she had into the coffers of a corrupt and wealthy religious establishment that He had already condemned.

  8. There is nothing but God and no one understood this better than Jesus. So the reason why I say that Jesus neither approved nor disapproved of the offering that was given is because the offering was “of God” in the same general way that all things are “of God”, in the same way that the Judaic Faith and Church were/are of God, preceding, at the time and since Jesus pronounced condemnation of it. God is omnipotent, and deals with us according to the conditions among the Children of Men. Any offering made in any fashion has certain effects based upon the spirit in which it is given, the personal condition of the giver of the gift is reflected back in very specific and self-similar ways by The Giver of All Good and The Ultimate Gift.

    Jesus recognized the intent of the ritual of donation and took into account the intentions of the rich men compared to those of the widow. He vocalized the comparison as a lesson to help anyone interested to see quantity and quality in a different light. The very fact that he could/would/did make a comparison or highlight the contrasting values means that this is not a blanket statement or general stamp of approval for the institution (which he had already condemned) nor the coffers (which are a key part of the institution he had already condemned) nor the currency being dropped into the coffers (a currency connected to the same coin for which he had also already expressed a “take it as you will” indifference which evaded the pharisee’s attempts to trap him in his words and has been misinterpreted for centuries since as an endorsement of tax systems and payments the world over). His words at this time do not even equate to a praise of the poor widow over the rich men. What we may interpret as Jesus’ sign of approval goes deeper to the spirit and does not rest upon any of these persons, places or things.

    This is further evidenced by Jesus teaching that one should give to the beggar without questioning the condition of the beggar or what destructive actions might be performed by that beggar with what we give to him. It is interesting how people will question the beggar but never question the institution which puts up its petition to us. Jesus was a representative of His Father, not a spokesman for man-made institutions. His Father is no respecter of persons, so he doesn’t even play favorites with regards to the divine spokes-person Himself as incarnate in Jesus Christ, through which Word he was very specific in what words He has and has not given us. Our interpretation can change everything in a temporal sense but the atemporal nature at the source of the Word of God remains unchanged. Which is why, on a personal note, I am careful to not attribute to God or Christ any kind of “This or That” reasoning. That may be my reasoning, or your reasoning, and has its origins with what has been described as the doctrine of the devil, but if we are honest with ourselves we will have to admit that never at any time did God say “this or that” to us.

    You yourself are in a perfect position to be able to not only clearly discern but discern clarity itself, to see not only the reflection of light off of things but to comprehend light more directly, at least as far as the light of intellect is concerned. You know the Church to be of God, and you also have a testimony of the dead and dying state of affairs within it. You see what you see and you experience misunderstanding from this and that group in their attempts to make sense of your viewpoint and/or classify you. Only a thing capable of dying can be truly living. This testimony born of spirit is not to be confused with a diagnosis after the manner of men. In fact dia (meaning through or throughout) and gnosis (meaning knowledge) means that we obtain true knowledge only through spirit which is throughout all creation and which at the same time allows us to see through various levels of creation as opposed to stopping the scope of our vision and placing personal interpretation/interruption in the same category as the Divine Word.

  9. in the same general way that all things are “of God”

    I don’t much care for this “general way” then — it’s too much of a tautology.

    If “everything is of God” in this way, and Jesus can both approve and disapprove of things, then this tautology would suggest that Jesus necessarily disapproves of things that are of God. Do you agree with that?

  10. I can simultaneously agree and disagree. And so can you. The word disapprove carries a very extreme connotation in our minds usually.

    Jesus saying: “get thee hence” to Satan as God of this world is one of the most stark examples of Jesus disagreeing with or disapproving of God on a very real or at least material level.

    Jesus saying: “Father let this cup pass from me…” as well as questioning “Why hast thou forsaken me?” on the cross are both very real though temporary examples of at least a hint of some very real (at least on an emotional level of reality) opposition between Jesus and God.

    More subtle and yet nonetheless clear examples of this would be when Jesus took a detour and made it a point to visit Mary before going to His Father. Or when the work and schedule so to speak of The Father calls Jesus away from the Nephites, but His bowels are filled with compassion upon seeing the look in their eyes and feeling the pull of their hearts being desirous that he stay….so Jesus makes an executive decision and tarries with them.

  11. Justin,

    I just visited the latest Pure Mormonism blog, called When Tithing Settlement Goes Horribly Wrong, and wondered whether that post, or ones like it, were the inspiration behind this post of yours.

    I found Rock there essentially celebrating the practice of paying one’s tithing to other organizations (and not to the church), which charitable organizations would then use these funds for the poor. The justification behind this practice seems to be this scripture found in the JST:

    And this Melchizedek, having thus established righteousness, was called the king of heaven by his people, or, in other words, the King of peace.

    And he lifted up his voice, and he blessed Abram, being the high priest, and the keeper of the storehouse of God;

    Him whom God had appointed to receive tithes for the poor.

    Wherefore, Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him more than that which he had need. (JST Gen. 14:36-39)

    This practice disturbs me, since, according to my understanding, there is no justification to pay tithes to other organizations, for the law given to Melchizedek and to Abraham, of tithes going to the poor, is not the law of tithing that was given to the latter-day saints in D&C 119, which tithes do not go to the poor, but are for the specified purposes found in that revelation.

    And in case anyone comes in and reads this comment, I wrote a four part series on tithing 7 years ago, in which I expounded upon the principle, which you can find here:

    The law of tithing (part one)
    The law of tithing (part two)
    The law of tithing (part three)
    The law of tithing (part four)

    The confusion caused by the mixing up of the ancient law with the new law, simply because the same word “tithing” is used to name both sets of laws, seems to me to be a simply matter to fix. The above four links, I think, are sufficient to clear up the confusion and misunderstanding.

    Nevertheless, the corruption that these people are seeing in the church, or in the leadership of the church, surely will prove an obstacle in getting these people to pay their tithing, like they are supposed to. Your post, Justin, obviously shows that even though the church is corrupt or apostate, we are still to give the offerings that God requires, even to the persons or organization He has appointed for receiving them.

    Some people simply will not be convinced, no matter what you say to them, or how many gospel principles are expounded and unfolded in their eyes. They simply will not contribute to an organization that they perceive to be either corrupt or misusing their funds or not following the commandments of God. Yet, they do not or will not see that by refusing to pay tithing to the bishop of the church, they themselves are also not following the law of God. In other words, accusing one side (the leadership) of not following God’s commandments, does not justify the other side (the members) to break God’s commandments, too.

    Thus, this practice seems to me to be inspired by the devil, to speed along the fracture and eventual break up of the church.

    However, in the event that someone–who does not wish to pay tithing to a corrupt organization, yet who does wish to pay tithing to the Lord’s church, as commanded by God, but who also wishes to give money to the poor through their tithing, like the ancients did–in the event that such a person will listen and hear wisdom, as to what to do, I will show a path to wisdom, or I will show a path, and he or she can determine whether it is wisdom:

    The Lord has already set up a currency, even the Bartering Currency, to be a standard among the Gentiles, so use it in this manner:

    If you have silver coins, (bullion coins, not collector’s coins), use them to pay your tithing and set the value at the same suggested currency value as the Bartering Currency, which is .01 oz = $1.00 USD. As most people have 1-oz silver bullion coins, each 1-oz would be valued at $100 USD, or, using the Bartering Currency designation, at 1.00 SBC.

    Use up your coins, then, as tithing, using them at a much greater value then they would be worth as bullion, using the Bartering Currency as your standard to value them. So, let’s say that you have $3000 in tithing to pay and you happen to have thirty 1-oz bullion coins. You would send those 30 pieces of silver to the bishop as your tithing. What do you do with the $3000 in USD? Anything you want, including giving it to a charitable organization for the use of the poor.

    Now, if you do not have silver bullion coins, then either get some, by purchasing them with your tithing money and then valuing them (using the Bartering Currency as the standard). If you need to get 30 ounces of silver to pay tithing, it may cost you $500. The other $2500 that is left over can be used, again, as you please, even giving it to other organizations. But the 30 ounces will go to the church.

    On the donation slip, you would list it as 30.00 SBC, using the Bartering Currency valuation.

    Now, if you actually want to use the Bartering Currency as your tithing, then you need to contact me, but it is the same principle. You will purchase the Bartering Currency, in whatever denominations you want to have them in, and then pay your tithing in SBC at the Suggested Currency Value of .01 SBC = $1.00 USD. The leftover USD that you have is yours to use, as you want.

    This strategy is justifiable before the Lord, for the Lord gave the Bartering Currency for His own reasons, and there is no fraud in using it to value, or to assign a currency value, to other silver bullion rounds, nor is there any fraud in using silver rounds as currency, nor is there any fraud in using the Bartering Currency in payment of tithing. All of this is acceptable before the Lord and surely will please Him, for it creates an environment in which the wheat can ripen.

    Now, I will explain what I mean by that, for the wheat is to ripen among the tares, and this is why it is wrong for you to leave the church and it is wrong for you to pay your tithing to an organization other than the church, etc. The wheat must ripen among the tares, not apart from the tares. All things, then, that tend to causing the unripe wheat to separate from the church are inspired of the devil.

    The use of the Bartering Currency, or the use of silver bullion coins valued by the Bartering Currency, among the membership, as tithing, is wheat behavior. It causes one to stand out among the tares as wheat, or to begin the ripening process. And it does so without breaking the commandments of God.

    God will take those silver tithing donations and consecrate them for the benefit of the wheat, for they are an act of faith, and they will be used by God to effect change in the church for good. And He will surely bless all the saints who do this, for this act will please Him.

    I have already written elsewhere as to what may happen with those coins once they go to the church, and I do not wish to repeat myself here, so I will finish this comment by talking about fast offerings.

    Fast offerings create quite the problem for the saints, for now that the donation forms say that all donations may be used for whatever purposes the church wants to use them for, who is to say whether fast offerings will actually go to the poor? I would say that if you trust your bishop, or obtain a promise from him, that your fast offerings will actually go to the fast offering fund, which is for the poor and needy, that you ought to give generously to him, in cash, not in Bartering Currency (unless the Bartering Currency is already being accepted among the people of your town, and if that is the case, then you use the Bartering Currency and not cash), and this is so that the poor are benefited. But if you cannot trust your bishop, or he refuses to give you such a promise–for surely, if the saints begin using the Bartering Currency for their tithing, the central church will start to complain and will tell the bishops to send in their fast offering funds, that there be cash in the coffers, instead of all the silver being sent in, and this will cause obedient bishops to give no promise to the saints that the funds will be used for the poor–then you hold onto your fast offerings and merely offer to pay someone’s rent, or food, or whatnot, directly, you yourself disbursing the funds to the poor that the bishop directs you to.

    This strategy, like the other, is justifiable before the Lord and will effect immediate and lasting change in the church, for good. But going the other route of simply giving away fast offerings to other organizations does nothing to change the church for good, it only serves to condemn the members who do this, for they end up no longer keeping this law of God, which disobedience keeps the stake they reside in in an unsanctified state.

  12. No — the only thing that prompted this post was my brain after I’d read the widow and her 2 mites story. We’d had a sacrament meeting full of talks about tithing that week because the next week was when tithing settlement meetings were to begin — so I think my mind was primed by that.

    I’m sure it’s highly variable from ward-to-ward, but I know from our bishop that the fast offerings are used only for the poor and needy within our stake. He said sometimes they’ll send money out of the ward boundary, but it’ll be because the stake president requests assistance from the other bishops on behalf of a particular ward that may be dolling out more than they’re getting.

    I think that another reason people feel uneasy about paying an LDS tithe over of concerns of how money is abused by the corporation is that they’re paying too much tithing. They’re paying it on their annual income and not on their annual interest, or increase. The church’s current expositions on how we should pay tithing have the potential to impoverish people who have sufficient for their needs. It takes income out of their pockets before they’ve even been able to put a roof over their head or food on their families plates.

    If, instead, one would pay according to their interest annually [as the revelation directs] and pay their one-tenth on what they’ve increased above-and-beyond the base principle, which the Lord considers to be what your family needs to sustain itself [being neither improvised with the needy nor damning yourself with the wealthy] — then the amount wouldn’t be near as much and people probably wouldn’t feel like “tithing” was such a daunting topic.

    The only sense in which you should pay tithing on your “income” is the business/accounting sense of the word — which is revenues minus expenses. Or [as I put it above], for an LDS household, that would be your income minus necessities/needs.

    We pay tithing to the LDS church according to our increase annually [which is a relatively modest amount and easy to afford], and then we’ll use the 90% the Lord leaves us with to pay fast offerings and otherwise help the poor and needy at our own.

  13. I was thinking about Anon’s remarks about my exposition of the widow’s mites story this morning — and I thought of a thing I wanted to add.

    Let’s imagine this story in a world where Jesus believed along the lines of those LDS who protest paying a tithe for reasons of apostasy, corruption, or greed, etc. Wouldn’t He just have been able to approach the widow, tell her that God acknowledges her willingness to give, but this is a place of corruption, keep your mites, go your way and praise God — then maybe she gets home and sees that her two pennies have turned into two gold pieces or something?? Why watch her from afar, use her as an object lesson to the disciples, and refer to where she was placing the only two pennies she had to rub together as “the offerings of God”, when that reciprocal was operated by a corrupt, abusive, and apostate church?

    Unless your position is that Jesus does not care if improvised widows are losing the only two pennies they have — then you’d need to explain why He didn’t interact with her, stop her, and teach her some lesson about giving her money to the poor herself (instead of putting it into the corrupt temple coffers).

    His lack of intervention in this scene is itself an act of complacency/approval with regards to what she was doing. That’s an interesting fact to me.

  14. Rock of the Pure Mormonism blog said the following about your post:

    As for the example Justin brings up in his post of the Widow’s mite, I don’t think that story is applicable to tithes. Bible scholars seem to be in agreement that she contributed her coins into the poor box, which was separate from the regular tithes that went for the temple and the support of the priests of Levi. The reason Jesus made a point of her humble offering had nothing to do with whether or not paying the temple tithe was appropriate or not. It was because the wealthier and more influential men who went before her made a very big show about how magnanimous they were being, making sure everyone saw how much they cared about the poor by practically announcing their donation. “They have their reward,” Jesus said, meaning they wanted attention and praise of others, and they got it.

    In contrast, the widow, quite poor herself (and therefore exempt from paying the regular temple tithe), had enough real compassion for others in her situation that she quietly contributed the equivalent amount of a loaf of bread toward the well-being of others who might be in need. She acted out of true compassion for the suffering of others, and that was what impressed Jesus.

  15. All I said concerning the text itself was:

    Here we see Jesus referring to what was obviously an abused receptacle of money as “the offerings of God”. Here we see Jesus approving of an impoverished widow submitting what little money she had into the coffers of a corrupt and wealthy religious establishment.

    I never even really mentioned tithing at all in the post — only to say that this thought of mine probably occurred to me because tithing settlement was coming-up in our ward and to say that people have concerns [among other things] over how tithing funds are used by the Church.

    I know that most people’s concerns related to that issue have to do with the fact that they don’t want to give their money to a wealthy, corrupt corporation for stock holdings and retail developments. I get that. However, whether Jesus was telling a story about a widow paying a freewill offering, a young married couple paying their tithe to the Levites, a day-laborer paying his half-shekel temple tax — or whatever — as I said above:

    His lack of intervention in this scene is itself an act of complacency/approval with regards to what she was doing. That’s an interesting fact to me.

    and unless someone wants to say that Jesus doesn’t care about improvised widows losing the only two pennies they have — then there needs to be an explanation as to why He didn’t interact with her, stop her, and teach her some lesson about giving her money to the poor herself, or have some miracle occur where a sack of gold appeared in her home at the moment she dropped her coins in. The fact that He didn’t intervene [in my estimation] is linked to the fact that He still considers the temple “collection plate” as “the offerings of God.”

    For clarification — yes, I agree that the “point” of this particular story isn’t about tithing [be it the ancient law of tithing to support the Levites or the modern, LDS standing law of tithing to sanctify our land]. I know it’s a story to teach that God values things based on the inner state of our hearts — not on the outward, observable things that humans judge us by. Neither the tithes nor the half-shekel temple tax were payed into the treasury where the widow put her two pennies, etc. etc.

    Personally — if I were going to give a full exegesis of the text [instead of point out the one little fact that came to my mind as I read it about the phrase, “offerings of God“], I’d say that this isn’t even a story that praises the widow at all. It’s about a system that has corrupted the people’s way of thinking to such a degree that they’ll give of their poverty [likely harming herself and any family that depend on her] to a religious/political establishment. As a whole, the text makes me think about the reason why a widow with nothing feels compelled to give the last two coins she has to rub together to the temple — or to any “charitable organization” for that matter. She’s ministering — when she should be ministered to.

    Oh yeah — and,

    “They have their reward,”

    isn’t applicable to this story. Jesus doesn’t mention that they were boastfully putting in large sums of money as He talks about in the Sermon on the Mount [so I don’t want to assume motive on the part of the other gives]. It is only remarked that they were putting in a higher numerical value of currency than the widow and that their givings came from a surplus they still had. But that’s neither here nor there.

  16. “Wouldn’t He just have been able to approach the widow…?”

    “Why watch her from afar, use her as an object lesson to the disciples…?”

    “…you’d need to explain why He didn’t interact with her, stop her, and teach her some lesson…”

    These are all very good questions. It’s certainly worth looking into Jesus’ reasons. But as such, these questions, remaining unanswered cannot stand as absolute proof of anything. Questions lead us to answers and to God but they are not answers in of themselves unless we choose to be misled, leaning to our own understanding, whatever that may be.

    His lack of intervention in this scene is not itself an act of complacency/approval with regards to what she was doing. The answers are deeper and honesty requires a broader scope in our questioning. If you take a moment to think about it, you will notice that you have stumbled upon a larger pattern of Jesus’ ministry. With the exception of the 12 disciples (and possibly technically the raucous kick-start to his ministry where he enters the synagogue for the last time, makes an announcement that results in his forcible removal by an angry mob of Church officers), he never approaches anyone, he is only approached.

    This instance with the widow does not represent any type of departure from the norm in Jesus’ teaching style and can’t rightfully be used as evidence of some sanction of her actions. It doesn’t amount to a condemnation either. But to say it shows Jesus as giving a thumbs-up here is about as silly as the “Thumbs-Up Jesus” meme that circulates in modern culture. Sometimes we look to the Father and seem to get nothing in our requests or inquiries. Jesus and the Father were one and could feel that oneness keenly throughout the entire 3 year ministry besides one crucial moment. Sometimes we look to Jesus to try and get approval for what we think or do, but Jesus doesn’t seem to answer our questions directly. This doesn’t mean he is the Rude Rabbi….it means that he hopes we will allow ourselves to be led to the right questions and right answers by trusting him as our shepherd venturing further down the rabbit hole as they say.

    Jesus spoke and speaks to believers with open hearts and minds. He never picks fights or seeks direct audience with those who are condemned. His person did not come to condemn, people condemn themselves. He paid such close attention to the Spirit and it guided him to be in certain places and certain times and enabled him to recognize his sheep by their very recognition of him as shepherd. Beyond that, or we might say, based on the distance placed between lost souls and savior by individual sovereignty, whether that perspective be more or less accurate, more or less separate/removed, Jesus, Being-Christ, follows the same pattern as the Light of Christ. He is there. He shines forth. We see it or we don’t. We block and we blind or we look and we love ourselves…our God…our neighbor.

  17. Two things:

    But as such, these questions, remaining unanswered cannot stand as absolute proof of anything. Questions lead us to answers and to God but they are not answers in of themselves unless we choose to be misled, leaning to our own understanding, whatever that may be.

    I think the existence of a question speaks louder than you are allowing it to.

    and

    His lack of intervention in this scene is not itself an act of complacency/approval with regards to what she was doing.

    That’s exactly what “lack of intervention” is — it’s passive approval. This has been well-established in our moral and legal systems for centuries.

    Also, my whole point about Jesus “approving” of her offering even though it was going to a corrupt, apostate religious group never hinged on Jesus not intervening — that was just something your comments drew out of me.

    As I said in response to Rock’s comment that LDSA posted:

    All I said concerning the text itself was:

    Here we see Jesus referring to what was obviously an abused receptacle of money as “the offerings of God”. Here we see Jesus approving of an impoverished widow submitting what little money she had into the coffers of a corrupt and wealthy religious establishment.

    …unless someone wants to say that Jesus doesn’t care about improvised widows losing the only two pennies they have — then there needs to be an explanation as to why He didn’t interact with her, stop her, and teach her some lesson about giving her money to the poor herself, or have some miracle occur where a sack of gold appeared in her home at the moment she dropped her coins in. The fact that He didn’t intervene [in my estimation] is linked to the fact that He still considered the temple “collection plate” as “the offerings of God.”

    It’s linked to the fact that He still calls the offering place, “the Offerings of God” despite the fact that He had previously let on that it was His opinion that the caretakers of those offerings clearly weren’t godly and weren’t disposing of the offerings in a God would want them to be.


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