Here’s a quick, interesting story from Scripture:
Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.
Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”
Jesus is Watching and Observing
He sat opposite the treasury and saw how people put money into the treasury. This one little word – how – transforms the whole story and raises the spiritual temperature of giving.
“Jesus saw HOW people were putting money into the treasury.”
It’s not so much the amount that was given, but it was the way in which it was given. The “how” was important to Jesus.
The “how” we give is evident in a lot of things.
How we give acts of service to our siblings, family, spouses or children.
How we give love toward those around us.
How we give our time to the church, to others, and to God.
How we give our talents and abilities to building up the kingdom.
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Cor 9: 7-8
God asks that we give him our all…. And from the act of this widow we learn:
Giving is not measured by it’s count, but by it’s cost.
Giving is not measured by it’s amount, but it’s portion.
Giving is not measured by what is given, but by what is kept.
Giving is not measured by money, but by spirit. (unknown)
The message that rings clear throughout scripture… that we must die to ourselves, give up our own life, rely on the Lord to work through our weakness, our poverty, and our sinfulness.
A Model is Made
Jesus uses this woman as a public example.
He does this on many occasions – the centurion for his faith, the Pharisees for their pride and other parables and stories through scripture.
This was a strategy Jesus used to help people learn who to follow. Visual examples are always better than verbal words. Jesus celebrates what he wants repeated. When you take notice of someone in the organization, people begin to emulate those characteristics. Much like a “bell sheep.” You put a bell around the neck of the sheep you want the others to follow and they do.
So Jesus calls his disciples together and tells them that this woman is the one to model.
God’s View on Giving
Jesus says to his disciples, that the woman gave more than the others. How can this be? The other people put in much more than a penny!
It’s the paradox that so often comes with God’s ways. It wasn’t the amount – it was the obedience of the giver. It was the fact that she, “in her poverty,” put in all she had.
Jesus says she has put more in because she has put everything in. The only thing she can rely on now is her faith in God!
This happens in many areas – when we are uncertain if we can accomplish a certain task. When we are called upon to lead or serve in an area that we don’t feel like we can do all that well. When we are asked to give out of our nothingness…
She gave out of her poverty. She gave in a spirit of trusting in God alone. She gave it all. And Jesus lifted her up because of it.
Evidently, both the surrender and the giving was important to Jesus.
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