Are you giving what God wants you to or just what you have left over?

Are you giving what God wants you to, or just what you have left over?
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Mark 12:44

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.

It’s Not the Amount, It’s the Sacrifice

In the section of Scripture where Jesus observed the rich people putting in large sums of money (Mark 12:41), a widow came and put in two small copper coins, which today would have been the equivalent of one or two cents. Most people who observe this might think, “Wow, look how much the rich people put in the temple treasury” and “the widow put in only two coins.” But Jesus said that the widow actually gave more than those who were rich because she gave “everything she had,” and that was all that she had to live on. The rich gave out of their abundance, but they had much more wealth and much left after the offering. The widow gave it all up, so she was giving what God wanted her to give and had nothing left over. Who gave more? Clearly, it was the widow because it’s not the amount but the amount of sacrifice.

Second Best

The Bible is full of examples of people, priests, and the nation of Israel giving God less than the best. Some priests in Israel actually gave blind, lame, and sick animals for the offerings (Malachi 3:8). That was so they could keep the best for themselves. I visited a friend of mine in his church recently. He is disabled, so he sits in the back. Even though he has little, he still gives $1 out of every $10 that he receives, even though he receives only less than $100 a month in assistance. He sits behind a church deacon, whom he has noticed never gives anything or pulls out change from his pocket for the offering, this despite the fact that the deacon owns a construction company and makes a considerable amount of money. So like the poor widow and the rich man mentioned in Mark 12, who gave more? My poor, disabled friend because he gave out of his poverty and didn’t have much. But sometimes he actually out-gave the rich deacon in his church, more sacrificially and sometimes more in totality.

What About Us?

Do we hold back the best from God? Do we give grudgingly, out of guilt, or out of compulsion? God says He would rather us give joyfully (2 Corinthians 9:7). I’m not saying it should be 10%. I believe for some it can be more, and for others who have little, it might be less. Either way, I believe we should be giving what God wants us to give and not just what we have left over after paying our bills. Some people come to church and give nothing, and some have nothing but give much. The former give God leftovers–the latter give Him their best.

A Closing Prayer

Father, I know that You cannot put back into my hands when my fists are clenched. Help me to have a more generous spirit to give to Your work so that Your work will have the means to spread the Gospel and teach the church. Forgive my times of stinginess because You have been so generous to me, and in the name of the King of kings I pray.

Amen

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