Summary: See what a poor widow can teach us about what it means to give everything.
“The Mighty Mite”
Let’s take our Bibles and open them to Luke 21. We’ll be looking at verses 1-4, and I see this passage much like the PIP on many of the newer televisions out today. How many of you have seen the “picture-in-a-picture” technology? It lets you view two things on the same screen. That’s kind of what’s going on here – two things are happening (disciples’ picture vs. Jesus’ picture), but it plays itself out on one screen. Almost like God’s PIP – Pictures In a Passage!
Or it’s kind of like the weird pictures that you stare at for a long time, then they become clear. Have you ever seen one of those? That’s the idea here as well – it’s one picture, but the longer you stare at it, the clearer the real picture becomes.
Such is the case here in Luke 21. We have two things going on:
Picture #1 is what the disciples saw, and picture #2 is what Jesus saw. Let me read the text and then we’ll make some observations.
[READ LUKE 21:1-4]
These two pictures in a passage remind me of what happens often in church when we give our tithes and offerings to God – what we see is just a little different than what God sees. Let me show you.
[“Cheerful Givers” Video]
Well, that probably hits home, doesn’t it? While that sinks in, let’s take a look at the contrasts in thee verses, the two pictures that are seen in this one passage.
1. The disciples saw rich people giving; Jesus saw a poor widow sacrificing.
You know the difference between the two, right? Let me see if this simple story will illustrate:
Once upon a time, a pig and a chicken were walking down a village street. They came upon a church sign which was advertising a prayer breakfast which was going to be held in a few days. At the bottom of the sign the menu was given. It read “Ham and eggs will be served from 6:30 to 8:00 am.” The chicken turned to the pig and said, "See!!’ Even we can help the work of the church!!!"
"Yes," said the pig, "but yours is only a contribution, mine is a SACRIFICE."
And that leads me to my next observation:
2. The disciples saw portions; Jesus saw proportion.
Often it is not just what we give but we give in relation to what we have. That’s the idea behind proportion. For instance, when I was in Atlanta as a youth pastor, we were feeding the homeless and passing out winter coats one fall evening. In fact, it was actually snowing that night! While I was ministering, a man approached me and asked me for a coat. But I didn’t have any left, and upon the leading of the Spirit, I simply sized him up and saw that mine would fit him. So I took mine off and handed it to him. And yes, it was new one someone had given me that week! But far better for him to have a coat than me. You see, that was different to him – because it was a gift given out of proportion. I gave him from what I had, not just from what others had.
That’s why it is so amazing to read about the way the early Christians and churches gave – it was always out of their poverty. 2 Corinthians 8 and Philippians 4 are tremendous passages that reveal to us the way they sacrificed. And Jesus notices that type of sacrifice because it is proportionate giving.