Day 7 ~ EXtra Effort
“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.” (Mark 12:43)
“Love the Lord your God … with all your strength” (Matthew 22:37)
After a long morning of teaching in the temple courtyard, Jesus took a break with his disciples. Sitting right across from the treasury, their gazes drifted over to observing many people who were making their offerings.
Never one to miss a teachable moment, Jesus asked his disciples about what they had seen. “Who put in more?” is the implied question. The answer is obvious to anyone reading or watching — those who gave the greatest sums put in more!
Jesus turns the tables on the obvious, teaching his disciples an important principle of giving. Giving is not measured by dollar amounts; giving is measured by how much we truly give of ourselves. Some who gave large sums offered out of their surplus gifts that they would never even miss. But what this widow offered meant the world to her, although it was just a penny. Her gift affected her life. Her seemingly small gift is the one Jesus singles out for praise. She put in more of herself than all of the others.
Commitments are not about equal gifts, but about an equal sense of sacrifice. Not everyone has the ability (the resources) to make a multi-million dollar gift; but every person does have the ability and the opportunity to meaningfully invest themselves in what God is doing in their church. In terms of the commitment, rather than the amount, would God be honored if every person in this church made a sacrifice equal to my own?
Prayer: Lord, each and every gift makes a difference to my church. Teach me to give in ways that actually make a difference in my life.
Action Item: Whether you imagine your financial gift to be “large” or “small,” stop … right now … trying to measure your pledge (in dollar terms) with what other people are able to do. Put that kind of “measuring” away! Every gift from every person is immeasurably significant if that gift represents a meaningful commitment within the context of their blessings. Continue to ask yourself this question: in terms of the level of commitment (not the dollar amount), would God be honored if every person in this church made a sacrifice equal to my own?