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Mark 12:44

ESV For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
NIV They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on.'
NASB for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.'
CSB For they all gave out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had--all she had to live on."
NLT For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.'
KJV For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

What does Mark 12:44 mean?

The point of this story is that the widow willingly gives God all she has, trusting that He will take care of her, as opposed to the rich who contemplate how much they can give without being inconvenienced. Inevitably, however, discussions will arise about the theological and practical implications of giving to God.

Does she have to give all she had? Of course not. When Ananias and Sapphira donate money they earn from selling land, God does not strike them down because they withhold some of the proceeds but because they lie about it (Acts 5:1–11). Their intention was personal pride, not support for God.

When Jesus tells the rich young ruler that to gain eternal life he has to sell all his possessions and give to the poor, Jesus doesn't mean that the rich can't be saved. Jesus can tell by the man's assertion that he obeys the Ten Commandments relating to people that he has a hard time honoring God above his chosen idol—money. Jesus' stipulation is about idolatry, not forced poverty (Mark 10:17–22).

Jesus' closest friends outside His twelve disciples are Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. At least once, if not twice, in the course of a week Mary anoints Jesus with three hundred-denarii-worth of perfume (John 12:1–8; Mark 14:3–9). When the disciples challenge her, Jesus tells them that her offering is far more important than the Twelve's finances.

In the church age, there is no standard for how much we should give or what percentage of our wealth we should donate. Like Zacchaeus, we should give as much as we feel God is leading us (Luke 19:1–10) and we should give joyfully (2 Corinthians 9:7). Most importantly, we should recognize that we are giving to God. If we give so that others can see us and praise our generosity, our desires are for worldly status and not devotion to God (Matthew 6:1–4).
What is the Gospel?
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