Let’s be Frank

Frank Retief 2

Frank Retief was pastor at St James Church Cape Town for 31 years, having planted the church in 1968 with his wife Beulah.  He became the Presiding Bishop of the Church of England in South Africa until he retired in 2010.  Frank remains active in ministry through preaching, teaching, pastoral work & writing, and has authored a number of books. 


Luke 21 verse 2 – 4:  He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”You, who read this, may remember that in chapter 19 verses 45 – 48 Jesus drove out of the temple those who were trading commercially, saying “It is written, my house will be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of robbers.” (Chapter 19 v 46)

GRACE OF GIVINGNow we read of another incident in the temple that caught the eye of Jesus. And it also concerned money.  The Scribes were experts in the knowledge of Scripture and were able to use scripture in such a way that drew from the public not only a great admiration for being so seemingly erudite, but they also looked for financial gain. Thus Jesus “looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. “ (Chapter 21 v 1). There was a collection box of some sort and the wealthy put their gifts into it, and it seemed to be very ostentatious. But Luke tells us he also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. Jesus commended her in verse 3. “I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others.” This was a very strange statement to make, but Jesus explains that the others gave out of their wealth. It was no hardship to give, but this poor widow gave out of her poverty. She gave all she had to live on.

Now, why was the widow’s action so commendable? Because she placed the welfare of the work of God’s Kingdom above her own, that’s why. To her the more important thing was, not her own provision, but provision for the work and the teaching of God’s law to go on.The implication is that the excessive measures taken by the temple authorities to get money, took no account of the poor and needy, who should have been assisted by the temple. So Jesus in this way lets us know that in spite of the temple corruption, he was not blind to the true devotions of many people who had genuine piety. They truly trusted in God. Jesus gives an eternal commendation to this poor anonymous person’s gift and she, without knowing it, would become part of the preaching of the Gospel forever.

Notice two things.

  • First, the greed of the human heart will be with us until Jesus comes, and it will always be seen in every human endeavor, including that of religion. The apostle Paul spoke of men “who think their godliness is a means of financial gain.” (1 Timothy 6 v 5) We have seen plenty of these people in our own time and will see them again and again in our generation. Enough said.
  • The other observation is that however small your service for Christ may be, whether that of effort, or money, nothing goes unnoticed. Jesus sees all and knows all, and all will find their due reward in due course.

You are not unnoticed, nor unappreciated by your father in Heaven.

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