“Truly I tell you, this poor widow offered more than all of them ...” (Luke 21:3-4)

“Truly I tell you, this poor widow offered more than all of them. For they all made offerings out of their surplus. But from her poverty she offered everything she had to live on.” (Luke 21:3-4)

Was it a gift or an offering?

In most Biblical translations, the Greek word δῶρον (dōron) is typically translated to "gift." Yes, this might be an appropriate translation in the right context. But the context here is the giving of an offering at the Temple - which would be an offering to the Supreme Being.

The Lost Gospels of Jesus translation of this verse is confirmed by Thayer's lexicon, which states the word means: "of sacrifices and other gifts offered to God" and "the offering of a gift or of gifts."

Jesus uses the same word when he states:
"Blind fools – which is greater, the offering – or the Altar of God that sanctifies the offering?" (Matthew 23:19)
This clarifies that not only is Jesus referring to making offerings to God, but the focus of the offering isn't the amount offered - it is the love and devotion that goes into the offering.

This is also illustrated by Jesus in this statement in Luke. While others might have been making larger offerings, the woman's offering was greater because of the extent of her devotion.

That devotion, in turn, translated to the extent of her offering - the fact that it was much of her personal wealth.

Why are offerings to God not taught much today?

This idea of making offerings to the Supreme Being has been mostly lost among many today. Why?

Because the purpose of the offering is oriented around the business of the institution. Today the offering plate is passed around as though it is part of one's obligation for going to church - like some sort of entry fee. Thus it has lost its volition - it is not voluntary.

Just consider what would happen in the church if the person was handed the offering plate and didn't put anything in it. They would be scorned by the rest of the churchgoers.

Furthermore, such offering plates are not oriented around being an offering to the Supreme Being. The offering plate is utilized to pay the priest and other church employees, who also do not donate their services voluntarily among today's churches.

Rather, they perform their services in return for a salary. This means their service is no longer devotional. It is professional. It is business.

This goes against the central principles of service to the Supreme Being - that it is voluntary, and it is given with love and devotion. When these principles are replaced with contracts and salaries, and obligatory plate offerings, the element of service also changes.

The purpose of making an offering is lost in this process of passing the offering plate and paying the salaries of the priests with the proceeds.

The purpose of making an offering to the Supreme Being - which can be made at the Altar, as an offering to Jesus or another representative of His, or a private offering to God - should be to reach out and connect with the Supreme Being. It means to express one's love and care towards God.

To make this process one where it is obligatory or business-like is to offend God.

Why should we make offerings to God?

Just think of the purpose of voluntarily giving a gift to any person. If a man walks up to a woman and hands her some flowers it means that he is trying to connect with that woman. He is trying to express that he wants to get closer to the woman. He wants to please her.

Now just think if the man was paid to give the woman the flowers. And he had signed a contract to do it, and to not do it meant breaking the contract. How would the woman feel about receiving the flowers from the man now? She would feel offended.

It is no different when making an offering to God. By making offerings to Him, we express that we want to get closer to God. We want to be with Him. We want to please Him.

If one makes such a process some kind of obligatory ritual, with priests being paid and under contract - the Supreme Being is offended by such fakery.

One can make personal and voluntary offerings of all sorts, anywhere and anytime. God doesn't need any of these things. He owns everything. Rather, an offering is an expression of our love.

One doesn't need to go to a church or temple to make an offering to God. We can pick a flower and make a loving prayer to God in the middle of the forest and God will accept the offering. We can also offer our food to God before eating it.

Isn't this what best friends do?

If you were sitting next to your best friend and you had a bottle of water or one apple - wouldn't you offer the water or the apple to your best friend first?

This was in fact what Jesus was doing when he "gave thanks" - translated from the Greek word, εὐχαριστέω (eucharisteō). Jesus was making an offering to God - his Best Friend - before he and his followers would eat. This in turn "blessed" the food - making it sacred.

What made the offered food sacred or "blessed" was the fact that it was offered to the Supreme Being, by the loving servant of God. Such an offering to God becomes sacred because it has been touched by God, and it is an instrument of love for the Supreme Being - our Best Friend.