Summary: Does your giving really cost you? How much is left behind? Are you giving out from the heart? Are you demonstrating a trust in God? Are you giving generously as the widow who gave just two lepta?
A Pattern For Giving
The roof of the church hall of a little Swiss church, at the turn of the 20th century, was falling down. So the members of the church held regular prayer meetings in the hall after the service to pray for funds to repair the roof.
There was an old man, known to be very tight with his money, who used to attend and sit near the back of the hall. He could sneak out just before the collection plate came round at the end of the prayer meeting.
One Sunday, he was held up on his way to the prayer meeting in the Hall by the vicar and could only find a seat at the front of the church.
During the prayer meeting, a piece of the roof fell and hit him on the head. Feeling spoke to by the Lord, he stood up and said "Lord, I’ll give $1000"
A voice at the back of the church was heard to say" Hit him again, Lord"!
According to statistics of Christian Churches today. The breakdown of giving looks like this:
20% of members Give 80% of all funds
30% of members Give the other 20%
50% of members Give nothing – ever!
I don’t know if that’s true. I hope it isn’t
Two lepta? They were the smallest coins in circulation. They were worth almost nothing. It was the minimum amount that you were allowed to give. It certainly wasn’t a very impressive gift, and we were almost embarrassed for the old woman as she shuffled away into the distance. But as she left, Jesus pointed at her and said, "The plain truth is that this widow has given by far the largest offering today. All these others made offerings that they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all!"
As others continued to give their large gifts, and as the old woman disappeared in the crowd, I began to think about it. It struck me that those who were giving large amount and tithing thought they were giving well. But here was a woman who gave a very small amount, and walked away viewing her gift as a failure and yet she gave the most extravagant gift of them all.
What God is doing when we give something to the Church:
I. WHEN WE GIVE, GOD IS COUNTING THE COST
If we watch all the wealthy people come and give their offerings, maybe we are wondered for their gifts! P1,000, P500, P200. But Im very sure, they have still so much money left behind. Maybe their minds were on the families and meals that were waiting for them as soon as they finished their temple duty. They gave, but their giving wasn’t a sacrifice. They gave and they still had lots over.
But then this one old woman comes up and gives a meager amount, and yet it was her all. Sometimes a little gift costs a great deal more than big gifts do.
I began to think about this issue of sacrifice. How many people give to God’s work in such a way that their gift is not sacrificial? They may give the prescribed amount, but their gift is such a small percentage of their resources.
Lets admit that we’ve given more to the temple without really thinking that we’re really sacrificing and didn’t affect my lifestyle that much. But here was a woman who gave in such a way that she had nothing left it was the height of generosity.
I don’t know your financial situation today it’s not really my place to meddle – after all, I’ve noticed an interesting thing: the more resources one has, the less they tend to give to God’s work. I’ve found that when people’s income rises, their percentage of giving drops.
Are you giving – even a large amount – in a way that costs little, or are you giving in such a way that it really costs you?
I still remember the words of King David, "I will not offer to the Lord that which cost me nothing!" Does your giving really cost you?
II. WHEN WE GIVE, GOD IS SEARCHING HOW MUCH IS LEFT
I was so impressed with the amount of the gifts that were being given, but the truth is: “Faithfulness in giving has nothing to do with how much we give; it has everything to do with how much we keep.” Do not looked at the size of the gifts but at the size of the giver. To tell you the truth, the widow’s offering wasn’t that impressive, but it became really impressive when we saw how little she had left over.
Jesus looked not at the amount of the gift, He looked with how much was left over at the end.