Mark 12:41-44: Sacrificial giving

“41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few pence. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.’ ” NIV UK

 

‘’For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have’’ (2 Corinthians 8:12).

God measures our giving not so much by what we put in, but by how much we have left. As someone said, He looks at the proportion and not the portion.

 Tom Hale’s comments on this are helpful: ‘When we give a gift to God, we think about how much we give. But God thinks about how much we don’t give!…The essence of giving is sacrifice. When we give to God we should go without something we want or need. We should not be content to give only what we can afford. We need to give more than we can afford (2 Corinthians 8:1-3)…As much as we give sacrificially to others, God will give to us (see 2 Corinthians 9:6-9…)’ ‘The Applied New Testament Commentary’, p.265.

For many Christians, the regular giving of the tithe (10% of income as a minimum) will take them into this territory. If they thought about it, they might feel they could do with that money themselves. But they probably don’t think about it. They regard the ‘tenth’ as sacrosanct and not ‘up for grabs’. All they have belongs to God anyway, and the giving of the ten percent is acknowledgment that this is so.

An old epitaph reads: ‘What I gave, I have. What I spent, I had. What I kept, I lost.’

‘’One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed’’ (Proverbs 11:24, 25).