Do you ever feel giving up your hard earn money is difficult to do when it comes to tithing to the church? Do you think it's easier for a wealthier man to give an offering, or a poor person? I'm going on a hunch here, but I'm guessing you said it's easier for a wealthier person to give than a poorer person. As I was reading today I came across this story:
41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."
So I was thinking about these verses and began to wonder why Jesus felt he needed to share his observation with his disciples. I can't help but imagine Jesus sitting on the steps resting as people go into the temple. He is watching one by one people laughing, smiling, possibly sad, or just headed in to get their worship on. Jesus noticed something though. He noticed rich people throwing an offering in the plate like it was no big deal, but he also noticed a poor widow giving her last 2 cents. Jesus makes a point to bring this to his disciple’s attention. Why? Were they also watching what was being given, and possibly snickering about the 2 cents given by the poor lady. Or, were they just so impressed with the amount of the rich people's offering? I have no idea to be honest. I have to only assume Jesus had a teaching moment here.
I believe Jesus is interested in our giving because it's something we can do to show our support to the church.
I believe he is more interested in the manner in which you give, as well as the heart behind the offering. See the rich people had no trouble giving something, because they had plenty. The poor widow had something little, but she trusted the Lord enough to give it all. She might in her own mind thought it's so insignificant and doesn't really even matter. Or what I think, she loves to give and wants to show that love by giving it all. I believe giving was her spiritual gift.
I always wondered why she didn't just give half. Would it still not make an amazing point? I mean the rich people didn't give half of their money. I believe this story is so important because she just felt she had to show her faith in God. I believe she thought all she really had left in her life was God. Her husband is dead, she has no job, and she just wanted to express her love to God in the best way she knew how. That was by being in church to worship, and by making a true sacrifice.
I can only imagine seeing Jesus face when he saw this from a distance. He was so touched by this widow's faith and generosity that he had to make it known to his disciples. He wasn't impressed with the rich people gift. He was just impressed with the heart behind the sacrifice.
I hope you will really think about this story. Many church members feel that they can't give for various reasons. Some people feel they can give a little bit, but the bills come first, and if there is something to spare then they will give. Some people love to let everyone know they will give to this and that when it's noticeable to the church. Some people won't even give one cent because they feel why do they need my money. Some people have no problems giving because they have plenty to give. The list really goes on and on why or why not one chooses to give. Only you and God knows your true heart behind it.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says:
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 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.
I loved this part, but I never spent much thought about this before. The verses continue and says:
8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:
"They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever."
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
Final words: you may not think your heart felt gift is much, but God loved the fact you gave it reluctantly. The church is using your gift to spread the good news of Christ. People are getting saved, and people are getting fed spiritually because we can have a building that we can worship in by the offering you share. If you Give for the joy of giving, I promise you it won't be missed.
God bless you, and pray to be a cheerful giver.