How do you measure generosity? Is bigger and more expensive more generous? Is it the intent that is important or the dollar value?
In the Gospel of Mark chapter 12 Jesus purposefully watches how much money people were putting in the offering. He records that many wealthy people were putting in large sums. The whole time Jesus is watching and measuring. He is looking beyond the amounts they give.
Along comes a widow who is living in poverty. She puts in 2 copper coins which was ALL she had. Jesus is overwhelmed by her gift although it was of lesser numerical value. He gathers his disciples together for a training session to show them how to measure generosity. In verse 44 Jesus says: For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.
This widow out gave everyone with just 2 coins! She gave up more than all the wealthy people combined because generosity is not measured in the amount you put in, but on the amount you have left. It was clear that money did not control this woman — she controlled money and worshiped God with her sacrificial offering. Jesus honors and celebrates her gift. She pleased the Lord.
Jesus is watching what we have left. Are we giving out of comfort or out of discomfort? He is assessing our hearts and our attitudes in how we use all our resources. Do we use our time, energy, resources, finances and talents to the point of sacrifice, or only to the point that is acceptable to us? Does the benefit to ourselves override the benefit to others? Are we willing to enter into personal difficulty to help others come into a relationship with Christ? Are we ready to out give the wealthy?
On December 6th we are taking up a special ‘Launch Day’ offering. We plan to do a BIG launch in 2010. Please be prayerful about the amount you should give at this offering. Every dollar we give will be used towards the passion we share — our passion it to build communities that are loyal to Jesus.