Summary: Money speaks about us, our relationship to God, and what we value. What does money say about you? If Jesus watched you give, what would His opinion of your giving be?
"And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the multitude were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. And calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, 'Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.'" (Mark 12:41-44)
Suppose we decided to take the offering in this church in a new way. Instead of passing the plate, let's say we let each one of you come down to the plates on this table and put in your gifts. As you did that, I would be standing there looking at what you put in and evaluating it in terms of your income.
Some of you may think that would be an invasion of your privacy. Some of you might even get offended. But you shouldn't. That is exactly what Jesus did. Here, in Mark 12:41-44, Jesus was standing around the Temple treasury, looking at what the people put in. We know it as the story of the "Widow's Mite." Jesus, here, is evaluating the people's gifts in terms of their income. He not only saw who was doing the giving, but what they were giving. And He evaluated it in terms of the gifts proportioned to the person's income.
Why was Jesus doing that? Because He is interested in what we give. Someone once said that, "Money talks - It says bye-bye." I'm sure there is some truth to that statement. Probably all of us feel that we have heard those words as we have written checks to our creditors. But our text reveals to us that money talks in other ways as well. Jesus was interested in what the people were giving and He is interested in what we give because money talks. It speaks about us, our relationship to God, and what we value. What does money say about you? If Jesus watched you give, what would His opinion of your giving be?
In our text, there are several principles important to our giving. As we discover these principles, today's message can be a mirror in which we can behold the reflection of our own love for the Lord expressed through our giving.
God Cares About Our Giving
Because of Jesus' action of observing the multitude as they gave, it should be obvious that God cares about our giving. What we see Jesus doing in our passage, God does all the time and in all things. He sees our giving. Indeed, He sees all of our living as well. But the point is that just as Jesus made a deliberate effort to observe the giving habits of these people, so God is interested in our giving.
God is interested in our giving because He has a plan for our giving. God's plan is called tithing. In fact, tithing is giving God's way. The Lord established this plan for the benefit of His Kingdom and for the benefit of His people. What we give and how we give is directly linked to our prosperity in the Lord, both material prosperity and spiritual prosperity. Therefore, God cares deeply that we follow His plan in this area.
Now, the subject of money is a touchy one to some people. But it should not be. We should be eager to know God's method for giving, and be eager to obey God in this area. Anyone who is serious about following the Lord must take His giving seriously. God certainly does. How do you give? Do you tithe? If Jesus were to observe your giving today, what would His opinion be?
There are three reasons why some do not tithe. The first is that they have never been taught to tithe. Because of the way some people react to the mention of money, some preachers never approach the subject. And with all that has gone on in the religious world in the last few years, some preachers are even more gun shy. Because some on TV seem to be only interested in feathering their nest with the contributions of Christian people, none of us in legitimate ministry want to appear as if we are simply interested in money. And so, some have never been taught to tithe. But let me say that God is not just interested in your money; but He is interested in your money. Because He is interested in you and your welfare, I must be faithful to share with you the liberating message of what tithing can do for you.