27 Aug Give Distinctly
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7
This verse in 2 Corinthians is often quoted on Sunday mornings right before offering. It is a reminder not only of the importance of giving, but also what our attitude should be as we give. In the Gospels of Mark and Luke, we find a story about a poor widow who gave all she had (Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4). Scripture says that Jesus sat across from the area where the offerings were being collected and watched as the people put their money in. The rich gave large amounts of money, while the poor widow stepped up and dropped in two small coins that were only a few cents. Upon seeing this, Jesus informed the disciples that she had “put more into the treasury than all the others” because she “put in everything – all she had to live on (Mark 12:43-44).” In this story, there are a few lessons we can learn about how to give distinctly.
- Jesus watches– In both versions of the story found in Mark and Luke, the passages make a point to say that Jesus watched and He looked. While offering time can be an uncomfortable time for some, Jesus recognizes it as a part of service and He is there. This is not to guilt us into giving but rather a fact that we should acknowledge that God is omniscient. He sees and knows all that we do. Our heart is where our treasure is and one of the ways we demonstrate our worship is with our giving.
- Give despite your circumstances – It is worth noting the contrast between the descriptions for the rich and the poor. For those who were rich, all we know is that they were rich. Perhaps it was common knowledge in the community or maybe it was the clothes and sandals they wore. Whatever the case, their financial status is all we know. Contrast that with the poor woman. Scripture doesn’t just say she is poor but specifically points out that she is a widow. This woman not only lacked in financial means but she also suffered a loss in her life that may have contributed to her situation. Regardless of their statuses or their personal stories, they gave. Like these individuals, we are to give whether male or female, rich or poor, single or married.
- Giving is relative – The most obvious lesson of this story is that how much we give is relative. Scripture is clear that the rich put in a large amount of money; however, what they gave was just a portion of what they had. The poor widow gave only a few cents, but that was all she had. Giving was a greater sacrifice for her. Going back to the verse we started with we should give what we have decided in our hearts to give. Whatever the amount, give it willingly, enthusiastically and cheerfully. One other note is that giving is not solely monetary. We give not only in our tithing, but in our talents and time. We give in donations of clothes and food to charitable organizations. What we have to give and how we give is unique to each of us. We give distinctly by recognizing that whatever God puts on our individual hearts to offer, is what we should choose to give.