Sometimes we feel as if the responsibility of giving rest solely on the shoulders of others. “How can I give to others when there is so much that I need, or at least think I need?” Giving is an attitude of the heart. Giving is a place where we experience the opposite of what is normally expected. When we “give” we assume that it means it will cost us, we will walk away with less. Usually that is true. But it is in the attitude and act of giving that we receive many rich blessings.
What a joy it is to watch a good friend of mine as he “joyfully gives” away the blessings God has gifted him with. It is a joy to hear he and his wife talk about how money is meaningless to them, and without the opportunity to bless others as they have themselves been blessed, it would all be for nothing.
In one of my small member churches, the attitude of giving was one of generosity as long as “our needs” are served first. I again want to emphasize, there was no outreach, no evangelism and certainly no sacrifice for the welfare of others going on… it was all about them. That being said they still were a congregation of loving wonderful people but they had become so entrenched in their own traditions and expectations of what church was that they missed the opportunity to serve Christ. They felt as if their church was a “victim” of decline, but they as a congregation had nothing to do with it!
41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
She gave to God out of her very need. The others that day were giving out of their very greed, selfishness, desires and agendas. What about God? How does that honor God who has given up everything for us? Jesus went on to explain to the disciples that day that it was not the amount that was given that was so important, but the attitude of the persons heart. Her offering that day to God demonstrated her obedience, faithfulness, trust and love for the God that meant everything to her.
That brings up an interesting question: “Does God mean everything to you?”
In that small member church, the offering became confused with self-preservation. They were willing to give to themselves and tell themselves that they were honoring God but they were not willing to invest in what God was doing outside of what they felt “forced” to do through the apportionments paid to the denomination. They enjoyed church their way, but not necessarily God’s way.
What did the Book of Revelation say: “I wish you were either hot or cold?”