1 Kings 8-9 Luke 21:1-19
“As Jesus looked up, he saw some rich people putting their gifts into the Temple money box. Then he saw a poor widow putting two small copper coins into the box. He said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow gave more than all those rich people. They gave only what they did not need. This woman is very poor, but she gave all she had to live on.’” (Luke 21:1-4 NCV)
People would go to the Temple to offer sacrifices of animals and money. There was a box somewhere in the Temple that had, for lack of a better word, an intake valve made of metal that probably looked like a cornucopia horn. When you threw your coins in there, they made a lot of noise. Forget this “holy silence” we see in churches today; the Temple was a noisy place. Sacrificial animals were available for those who needed to buy one. Others brought their own sacrifices. Then, as people gave, the horn of that box reverberated with the sounds of the coins being given. Imagine what $10 worth of pennies would sound like if they were thrown in the bell of a tuba. The noise from the offerings of the people ahead of her and behind her probably clattered forever. Her two coins plinked a little and disappeared into the box. She probably hurried past the box so that people wouldn’t know that she’d put in such a meager offering. Yet Jesus noted her faith offering and praised her.
Offerings in most churches these days are quiet, except for when a kid raids his piggy bank to give to God. We don’t make a big deal about how much we give. Still, God knows not only the amount of our offering, but the attitude of the heart in giving that offering. I am occasionally called on to count the offerings given in our church. I’ve seen some large checks given, and as a member of the finance committee, I’m grateful to see them. God has blessed those people and they’ve given back. I doubt that they had to worry about their next meal, though. I’ve also seen anonymous offerings with a couple of one-dollar bills – maybe a five-dollar bill. Notes on the envelopes simply said “tithe.” Were Jesus to comment on the offerings I give He might nod and say, “You’re faithful.” Were He to comment on one of those anonymous offerings I talked about, He’d probably praise the person that gave that small amount for giving all they had to live on. My wife and I won’t miss any meals because of our giving; those “small” gifts might mean missed meals. Jesus recognized that it takes more faith to give a small gift when you have nothing than it takes to give a big gift without sacrifice. The important factor in all gifts is the attitude. Are you giving in faith, or are you giving because you must? Are you giving joyfully our out of a sense of obligation? Is your gift a sacrifice or a minor inconvenience? I pray that one day my giving would be seen by God the same way Jesus saw the sacrifice of this poor widow.
Lord, giving can be such a sensitive subject these days. Help us learn to give in faith joyfully and sacrificially. Keep our hearts right as we give so that our gifts will help proclaim the gospel and meet needs around the world.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.