Give Until You Feel It
Luke 21:3,4 I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.
I have always considered myself to be somewhat generous with money. My wife and I grew up in homes where one always tithed, giving ten percent of one’s income away. It is a formulaic to do, just calculated into the budget. I do not really notice it, except that it makes me feel good about myself. At tax time, I can point to a number that I consider substantial and claim generosity. I am a pretty good guy…
God apparently measures such things differently. In today’s passage, Jesus and company were at the temple where they witnessed the wealthy giving large sums of money. A widow then came along and gave pennies. Jesus took the opportunity to explain what He thought of her gift. He, measuring heart and motive, claimed that she put in more than all the others.
The wealthy apparently were giving as I often give, out of obligation, habit or to make themselves feel good. Though they gave much more, they did not feel it as they had much more. They could put on a good show but Jesus found little substance in it. The widow’s gift however, was monumental to him as she gave everything to God.
I must admit, I do not understand this. No one of right mind would consider the pathetic gift to be the greater one. I see no way in which her tiny gift could do as much for God as the larger gifts. God did not need her pennies. Why would God ask her to give all she had? In my mind, Jesus should have told her to keep her pennies and then blessed her with much more.
Again, God measures differently than I do. The widow was apparently the one benefitting from the transaction. The offering plate hardly noticed the difference, but the widow was the one who gave and thus the one who received, not money, but something far greater in return.
This, I begin to understand. When I give something that has meaning to me, I give because I want to give. I give of my time to those in jail because I desire to be obedient to my father. In giving, I receive so much more in return. I like to think I am doing a good thing for the guys I visit, but as I look forward to my visit to the jail this morning, I know that I will get more out of it than they ever will.
Jesus said that when I visit those who are sick and in prison, when I clothe the naked and feed the hungry, I am doing those things to him and for him. When I do as Jesus asked, He fills me with himself, which is worth far more than anything I could ever own.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.