Yesterday our devotion centered on the Christmas story – as presented in Luke chapter 20. Today takes us into Luke 21 which begins with a few verses concerning giving gifts. How fitting. But here it is a slightly different type of gift which Jesus is referring to. “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.” (Luke 21:1-4). Giving to God’s work is indeed a great place to give your gifts – whether you are blessed with a lot to give or very little to give. God sees the heart and is delighted in the heart that joyfully gives all to Him.
The rest of this chapter is devoted to the future – including some rather troubling events: earthquakes, wars, famine, and hatred, prison and persecution as a result of believing and testifying about Jesus. But hope is given. Jesus says he is telling us these things so that we will know what must take place before the end will come. A hard day of dirty work is always made easier by knowing it will not continue forever. At the end there will be a time to enjoy the rewards of working hard. So too, those who are faithful through the end times can look forward to reaping the reward when the Son of Man comes again.
Jesus says do not be afraid; rather, “Stand firm, and you will win life.” (Luke 21:19). Even while our neighbors are fainting from terror at the surrounding events, Jesus tells us to stand tall. He says, “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.” (Luke 21:27,28).
Keep Giving – and Stand Firm!