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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 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 (NIV)
If there’s one thing that makes many people cringe about church, it’s the topic of money. For so long, people have seemed genuinely upset when churches talk about giving, tithes, or anything of that sort. Why? Perhaps it’s because of the thoughts that pop into our heads and linger in our hearts when this subject is broached.
This is my money. I work hard to have nice things. Why does God need my money? I need this money. How will I pay rent without it? How will I buy food? I don’t have enough. God doesn’t need my money. He’ll understand that I need to take care of myself and my family. I’m not a rich person. Let the rich give!
When it comes right down to it, we think of these resources as ours. So, to part with our hard-earned money and not immediately get something tangible out of it—like a pizza, or a shiny car, or a new piece of tech—is a hard pill to swallow.
But here’s the thing: Giving is much more about how you give rather than what you give. It’s an indicator of the condition of your heart and the practicality of your faith. And when we remember that a) it’s all His and not ours, and b) He promises to take care of us when we’re obedient and faithful, we can gain an entirely different perspective on giving.
Consider the example in Luke 21 and Mark 12. Here, Jesus is watching as rich people drop their gifts in the tithe box (Luke 21:1). But then comes a poor widow who “dropped in two small coins” (Luke 21:2 NLT). Seeing this, Jesus called His disciples over (Mark 12:43) to teach them a valuable lesson: “This poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has” (Luke 21:3–4 NLT).
In this instance, we see it’s not about quantity but quality . . . the quality of our devotion and obedience to God and our faith in Him. In both examples, we see this revealed. The rich gave a small percentage of their wealth. The implication here is that they gave what they had to spare. And while it may seem like a large gift to the untrained eye, it was merely their leftovers. The widow gave all she had. She held nothing back from God because she knew it was His to begin with, and she had faith He’d keep His promise and provide all she needed.
In their commentary, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote, “Christ's standard of commendable offering is not our superfluity, but our deficiency—not what will never be missed, but what costs us some real sacrifice, and just in proportion to the relative amount of that sacrifice.”
Remember Cain and Abel. God wants our first fruit; He wants our best, because He gave us His best! He held nothing back when He created a good and perfect world for us to inhabit and enjoy. He gives us everything we have, everything we need, and He blesses us beyond what we deserve. And most importantly, His gave us His first, His only begotten Son. God deserves our best. He deserves our all.
Both Abel and the widow gave their best, no matter how big or little it seemed in the eyes of man. Are you giving your best?
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.