Summary: Most people think it’s rude to talk about other people’s giving but Jesus didn’t have any qualms about it.
Everyone enjoys being recognized for the good they have accomplished even if they do the “No really, you don’t have to” thing. They enjoy being thanked and acknowledged for what they’ve done, maybe not publically but people want to know they have made a difference in their world. The scripture that dearest to the heart of many is the picture of Jesus welcoming us into heaven saying, “well done my good and faithful servant.”
But the same doesn’t always hold true for money, at least for a lot of us we aren’t comfortable when we are recognized publically for our giving.
Apparently there are some things that shouldn’t be talked about in public, sex, your giving and being a habs fan.
When we did the capital campaign in 2004 to raise the initial funding for our building there were three of us who made our commitments publically. It was part of the plan for the pastor and the campaign directors, who were Don and Heather Grant, to publically make their commitments as part of the leadership process and it was open to others on the leadership team if they desired to, and one other person chose to. We had people leave the church over that very issue or at least that was the excuse they gave.
What was it the man said, excuses are like noses everybody has one and they all smell. And so we were told that by publically stating what we intended to give we were putting people on a guilt trip. Guess we should have talked about sex.
Or maybe we aren’t comfortable with seeing other people being recognized for their giving. We like to keep it a secret. As a matter of fact people have a scripture that the trot out whenever the issue comes up, words of Jesus from the sermon on the mount, you are probably familiar with them Matthew 6:3-4 But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
Of course that criticism was levelled at people who wanted others to see how much they gave, right? All you have to do is go back one verse and you read Matthew 6:2 When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get.
If the truth be known too many people use that scripture for the opposite reason, they don’t want people to know how little they give. But if we look into the gospels we see a couple of examples where Jesus very publically commended people for their giving, what they gave and how they gave it. And in doing so condemned others for their lack of giving or at least the attitude with which0 they gave.
The first example we have is a very familiar story found in the gospel of Mark. Jesus had been teaching in the temple and we are told that he moves over close to the offering box, which by the way is located on the back table by the sound booth if anyone is wondering, and we are told that he watched what people were giving. That’s kind of rude, at least many people today would think that it was. Just imagine if I stationed myself back by the offering box and checked your envelopes as you put them in.
Wouldn’t have to say anything I’m sure that my expressions would speak volumes. The bible tells us in Mark 12:41 Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. In the King James and New King James versions it reads a little differently. Mark 12:41 Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Did you notice that the difference there? It said that he saw how they were giving. It wasn’t just a matter of the “what” it was a matter of the “how”. He moved it from a decision of the head to a decision of the heart. And if we continue the story Mark 12:42 Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.
You may remember from Sunday school or church as a child that she put in two mites, or maybe you have even heard the phrase “a Widow’s Mite”. A friend of mine in Truro told me one time as a child he couldn’t understand why the widow put two “Mice” in the offering box, or how she got them through the slot.