Looks Can Be Deceiving
Dear God, in my busy, cluttered, noisy world, I long to hear Your clear and loving voice speak to me.
Read Mark 12:41-44
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
“Take my silver and my gold [and everything else I have that comes from you], not a mite would I withhold” (Frances Ridley Havergal, 1836-79). It is easy to sing words way beyond our intention to enact them!
Today many churchgoers donate to church or charities privately, via direct debit or the internet. Not so long ago, people mostly gave money to the church by placing a public gift in an offering plate during a church service, either hidden in a pledge envelope or more visibly as loose cash. As children we sometimes peeked at what others put in the collection plate as it passed by! We always had a sense that giving was supposed to be a private act between the person and God (Matt. 6:1-4), but it was easy to make personal judgments about the generosity, or lack of it, of people nearby.
After Jesus had finished his condemnation of the teachers of the law, he sat down just where people were donating to the temple treasury via a row of thirteen trumpet-shaped offering receptacles. He observed the rich giving large contributions with a noisy flourish; in those days they didn’t have paper money! But Jesus didn’t commend them for their generosity. His attention was drawn to the quiet tinkle of two small coins. It was probably readily evident that the donor was poor, lacking the ostentatious clothes and bearing of the richer worshipers. She probably came alone, rather than as part of a family. But Jesus saw beneath the poor widow’s outward presentation right into her heart (1 Sam. 16:7). He knew that her very small gift was a most costly offering; she gave all that she had. He viewed her with eyes different from those around him, including his disciples, and affirmed her sacrificial heart.
Can we not easily fall into the trap of estimating the value of our giving by the tangible size of our gifts–of money, time, talents, emotional energy, spiritual wisdom–rather than the comparative size of what we keep for ourselves?
Read the last paragraph again. Is the “trap” mentioned above one you readily fall into? Resolve to give sacrificially (in all its dimensions) to the Lord’s work.
Generous God, as an expression of my thanks to You I desire to give until it really costs. May my giving represent sacrifice and self-denying love.