Saturday, April 5, 2014
The real measure of our giving is not how much we give, but how much we keep for ourselves. We like it better the other way. It enables us to have the upper hand on some who have less than do we. Or, it may enable us to play the game of comparison with those who we know will not be able to give what we are giving. Tithing is a Biblical standard for giving, but we like to use it as pat on the back for doing what others do not seem to be able to do. Is not bigger always better? Is not more worthy of praise and recognition?
The cultural value system may take us in that direction, but Jesus takes us in another. What one of us cannot remember that story of Jesus watching folks making their gifts in the Temple. The poor widow only gave two copper coins which was all she had. Others came and gave large gifts that anyone would have regarded as noteworthy. Her gift would not feed many hungry people, but those larger gifts could feed a crowd. Obviously, more is better. And, perhaps, it is unless it is Jesus doing the watching. He praised the woman because she gave a gift which expressed her faith in God to provide for tomorrow's needs. The richer folks gave a lot, but they made sure they had enough left over to take of tomorrow's needs just in case God did not come through as they wanted Him to do. Their gift was not the sacrificial gift of faith.
So, forget how much is given. Instead, think about how much is kept. And, consider why it is really kept instead of given. There are many reasons we make the giving choices we do. Maybe we have made some unwise financial decisions in the past as we sought to feed our need for more and better. Maybe we are afraid. Maybe we are still trusting in self to provide our needs instead of God. As we struggle with our answer, there is this woman who gave two copper coins. Jesus liked what He saw. What is there to like about what He sees when we give?