Summary: In this sermon you will learn the kind of giving that catches Jesus eye.
We are in the midst of a capital funds campaign. You heard a testimony a few moments ago. You saw posters and banners in the foyer. We have a major banquet coming up in several weeks. Financial giving is on our minds. I want to put this into perspective by introducing you to a woman who gave in such a way that she caught Jesus eye. “Then He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, ‘Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty has put in all the livelihood that she had.’’’ Lk. 21:1-4 NKJV
The lady in this text can speak to us because she has earned the right to speak. She has set an example by her sacrificial spirit. What did she do that caught Jesus eye? She teaches us three lessons.
1. Giving that catches Jesus eye begins in the heart. I admit, the word heart is not mentioned in this text. However, as you examine the text it becomes obvious that Jesus is examining the heart. If you had measured the contributions by appearance the rich people would have received a higher grade. The widow would have received a lower grade. But Jesus saw the heart.
The focus of our capital funds campaign is on “Equal sacrifice, not equal gifts.” It is a heart issue, not a size issue. A widow who gives $1,000 over three years may actually give more than a high salaried person that gives $10,000. The heart is the issue.
Jesus does not measure appearances, He measures the heart. Isaiah referred to this truth. He said the Lords "thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.” Is. 55:8 (NKJV) God knows your thoughts, actions and motives. I am humbled every time I read Ps. 139. Listen to verses 1-4. “O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.” (NKJV)
The Bible emphasizes faith that is driven by the heart. Paul referred to this in Rom. 10:8-11. But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” Rom. 10:8-11 Notice the number of times the word “heart” is used in this text.
Heart faith is motivated to do things sacrificially. When you study the New Testament you notice Jesus followers gave their best. They gave to him sacrificially. According to church history most all of Jesus original twelve disciples gave their lives for Jesus. There is no greater sacrifice.
We find another inspiring story in John 12:1-7. In this story Jesus is in Bethany at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Lazarus is the man Jesus raised from the dead. Mary so adored Jesus Christ that she did a seemingly irrational thing. It was customary in their day for a servant to wash the feet of guests. They had dirty feet from long walks on dusty roads. Most of them wore sandals. Thus, feet would be pretty dirty. Mary, whose brother Lazarus Jesus had raised from the dead, performed this beautiful deed. She took a bottle of expensive perfume and washed Jesus feet. After the washing she needed something to wipe His feet. She took the ends of her long hair and wiped the perfume and moist dirt from Jesus feet. Can you imagine, wiping someone’s feet with your hair. That must have been a mess! However, that was her way of expressing worship and adoration to Jesus. When you love Jesus and express your faith to Him you will do it with actions the world does not understand.
Financial giving is this way. Tithing and giving offerings to God does not make sense to a person who thinks like the world. A person of faith loves God and is willing to sacrifice for Him. He is the reason for our existence and the purpose for our lives. Some of you may be offended with my discussions about tithing. You will really be offended when you discover what the New Testament teaches about tithing. The New Testament teaches sacrificial giving. Paul said “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Rom. 12:1