The Holy verse says:
"The ones who have believed, emigrated and striven in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives are greater in rank in the sight of Allah. And it is those who are the attainers [of success]." (9:20)
First Let's put the noble verse in context, the holy Quran says:
"Have you made the providing of water for the pilgrim and the maintenance of al-Masjid al-Haram equal to [the deeds of] one who believes in Allah and the Last Day and strives in the cause of Allah? They are not equal in the sight of Allah. And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people. The ones who have believed, emigrated and striven in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives are greater in rank in the sight of Allah. And it is those who are the attainers [of success]." (9:19-20)
There are actually two stories behind that verse:
1- Some Muslims in Medinah were arguing, one said that he did not mind doing nothing after becoming a Muslim except providing water for the pilgrims, another said that he would not mind doing nothing except maintenance of the sacred Mosque (in Mecca) and a third said that the only job he would want was to fight for the cause of Allah. They argued, Omar Ibn El-khattab, may allah be pleased with him, ordered them to stop the argument and wait to ask the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, so they did and that was when the verse (9:19) was revealed.
2- After the battle of Badr, some Muslims gathered around Al-Abbas, our noble prophet's uncle, and some other Meccans who were held captive after the battle and blamed them for being non believers, so Al-Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him who was not a Muslim yet, said that the Meccans were the guardians of the sacred mosque, they were the ones who attended for the pilgrims that was then that the verse was revealed.
The verse is refusing the equality between those who attend for pilgrims or guard and serve the mosque in Mecaa and those who believed in God endured all hardships for God's sake and without expecting any reward from any human. This is because when the non believing Meccans served the pilgrims or maintained the sacred mosque they had financial benefit from doing it. They were the center of trade in all Arabia because of the existence of the sacred mosque in it. This is NOT the same as someone who, on the contrary, accepted to be banished from his homeland just for his belief. So God is actually, in these 2 verses, declaring that they are not equal and is promising those who believed, emigrated and gave up their belongings and their souls ONLY for HIS sake to be triumphant at the end.
Here we have to point out that:
1- Striving for the sake of God 'i.e. jihad' DOES NOT mean 'waging war', it has, as we have previously explained, various types the top of which is fighting against your desires to commit sins and to stay righteous. This is considered the biggest of all 'jihad' types according to our Noble prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, who told his followers returning from a military campaign: "This day we have returned from the minor jihad to the major jihad," by which he meant returning from armed battle to the peaceful battle for self-control and betterment.
2- Declaring war in Islam has to follow strict rules that we have previously explained and only when Muslims are threatened or when people are oppressed to forcefully follow a certain belief, only then are Muslims allowed to interfere and even this interference has strict rules and conditions that Muslims HAVE to follow.
So why is this verse considered violence, does it hurt that much to admit that doing something good for the sake of God only is not the same as doing it for earthly benefit...Is it strange that God would promise the sincere that he will be triumphant...since when is being rewarded for sincerity a crime or a call for violence?
Why do some people still insist that 'Jihad' means 'war' even though a countless number of Muslim scholars explained that it is not and that 'waging war' is only ONE type of 'jihad' and it is the extreme case that God had put very strict boundaries and limitations to.