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.
2 Corinthians 9:6–8 (NASB95)
6 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;
Jesus talked to the Pharisees about how they tithe their little spice plants out of obedience to the law (and so that they looked good to themselves and others) but ignored the “weightier” matters of the law (love, mercy, forgiveness, . . .).
After learning from Pastor Andrew Farley I see myself walking in the Pharisees’ path instead of Jesus’. I have been tithing under compulsion, because of the blessings and curses found in Malachi, not because I am a “cheerful giver.” I have even written posts about tithing and encouraged my sons to tithe.
Jesus wants me to give the way he gives: liberally, extravagantly, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing. Jesus doesn’t give to me because he will reward himself if he does and curse himself if he doesn’t. He gives to me because he LOVES ME. He is filled with “hilarity” (root word of “cheerful”) when he gives to me.
I have prayed to give with hilarity and God has granted my request. The first time I gave with hilarity my wife and I gave to friends of ours who were in a difficult financial spot. I was filled with hilarity . . . and love, for God who enabled us to give, and for my friends who were crying they were so happy at what God had done for them.
That kind of joy I have never received by following the law and giving 10% of my income motivated by blessings and curses.
Instead, Jesus calls us to hilarity. And he has promised to supply an abundance for us to give.
When God was contemplating creating men and women – in his image – he had a lot to think about. He decided that, like himself, he would make them able to decide for themselves if they wanted to love Love or whether they would rather live for themselves. God knew before the foundation of the earth that though God would make men and women Very Good, Adam would fail to protect Eve, Eve would be deceived by satan and men and women would rebel against him, against Love. God decided that the soul that rebelled against Love could not live with him, it must have its own place to exist away from the Love it hated with such passion. Previously God had made a place for satan and demons, and God now decided this is where those people who hated Love would reside after they had died a Second time.
Though all people would hate Love, Love loved all people, each person individually. Love decided he would take the place of people that hated him and suffer and die for their wrongs himself. And so Love was crucified before the foundations of the world. And God decided, Love would rise again to bring Love to all that wanted him.