[T]hat they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
John 17:21 (NASB95)
This verse teaches that we are one with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is why Jesus said if we are faithless, He remains faithful, because He cannot deny Himself. This security has been missing since the Fall. Counter-intuitively, its end result is not license (unbridled sin) but rather love and the desire to love (obey). And our desire to love is not just toward God but also toward the world and it is through Jesus’ love through us the world will know that the Father has sent the Son.
Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
Romans 2:4 (NASB95)
God is not a nit picking tyrant ready to smack us for doing anything wrong. He is kind, loving, patient, and tolerant. He demonstrates that the best way to win someone over is to be kind. He is quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (Book of James in the Bible) and he asks us to do the same. To influence others you have to be willing to let them influence you (Stephen R. Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). When you truly listen (when they say you present their view back to them better than they presented it to you) you communicate respect for them, that you value them and you begin to build trust. And trust, once earned, smooths the road of communication of infinite obstacles, and is the foundation of cooperation and synergy (finding the third alternative that is better than either of you could think of on your own).
Mark 12:41–44 (NASB95)
41 And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums.
42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.
43 Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury;
44 for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”
I don’t think this is about sacrificial giving. I think this is about dependence, trust, and relationship. The widow did not have Social Security or a retirement plan; she had nothing. Her dependence on God had developed trust in Him and facilitated an ever closer relationship with Him. Giving her last cent to God was saying: “God, I give away my last money to you as my way of saying I am totally dependent on You, I trust You more than money, I love You.”
This is what I think Jesus thought was significant, not what percentage of your disposable and essential income you give. When I am making my daily decisions, and I make my decisions based on my relationship with God and what He wants and not what money dictates; I will have learned this lesson.