(Part 1 of 2)
“So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”-Mark 12:43-33.
One of things that I love about the Christmas season is how it brings out the generosity in so many people. Even those folks, who throughout remainder of the year mirror the generosity of Ebenezer Scrooge; seem to be moved to lighten the purse strings during the holidays.
However, God never intended for our charity to be seasonal in nature. Some may be surprised to find out that giving is a spiritual discipline; an avenue by which we come into the presence of God. When we look closely at Scripture we find that giving is at the heart of God’s nature. John 3:16 declares:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever shall believe on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
The very promise of our salvation is rooted in God’s sacrificial generosity towards us; the giving of His Son. Jesus, Himself, later would elevate and recognize giving as a spiritual discipline. Jesus taught in Matthew Ch. 6 that we ought to pray and fast in our secret places as an act of worship. Most of us would not argue that prayer and fasting are spiritual disciplines, nevertheless included alongside these is the practice of charitable giving. This type of giving is that which seeks to bless the heart of God, not the kind of giving that draws attention to oneself.
Giving, like any other discipline, must carry with it an element of sacrifice. In 2 Samuel 24, King David went to the threshing floor of a man by the name of Araunah. It is there he looked to build an altar and sacrifice to the Lord. Araunah offered to give King David the plot of ground and anything else he needed to worship his God, but David made this amazing statement:
“No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.”-2 Samuel 24:24.
Back in the book of Mark Ch. 12, Jesus is observing the people entering the temple courts to place money in the treasury. He witnessed the wealthy come and give much followed by a poor widow woman, who came and put in two mites. It was then that Jesus makes an important contrast between the two; those who gave out their abundance versus those who give out of their need.
From my perspective Jesus wasn’t condemning those who gave out of their abundance, He is simply recognizing the woman, who gave sacrificially for God’s glory. The rich made a donation, the woman gave out of her need.
I would say that the majority of us reading this column, when it comes to giving, give out of our abundance. The question is are we disciplined enough to give out of our need as an act of worship?
Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church