In the Gospel of Mark Jesus pointed out to His disciples a widow woman who placed two little coins in the offering box in the Temple. Compared to the much larger amounts they had seen others give earlier, her offering seemed like nothing. Yet Jesus pointed out that they had given of their abundance while her offering consisted of all she had – a much greater sacrifice and gift.
Jesus explained that the rich people had given “what they can easily afford” while she had given “her whole living.”
This has me thinking – do I only give what I can afford or do I give my all?
When we talk about giving in relationship to God, we usually think of money and in this instance it was money that was being discussed. And certainly I have to admit when it comes to financial giving, I certainly use a lot of my income on myself. As I look at my checkbook, I have to ask myself if I am only giving what I can easily afford to the work of God.
Giving financially to God is more than just giving to my local church, although it does include that. But there are so many other areas where I need to share my abundance with others:
- helping teachers and schools with supplies
- buying shoes for children from families who are struggling financially
- buying a meal for a homeless person
- taking food to the local food pantry
- many non-profit organizations like American Cancer Society, St Jude’s Hospital for Children, Wycliffe Bible Translators and the list goes on and on
My first thought is I do not have an abundance financially. But I have to ask myself if I am only giving what I can easily afford. Am I really making any personal sacrifices giving up things I don’t really need, only want, to help others whose finances are much less than mine.
But giving to God is much more than just giving of my finances. There is my time and my talent.
How much of my time do I spend doing things I want to do, things which will help me or my family? How much of my time do I spend reaching out to others.
This was really brought home to me this past month. We just moved to a new state. Just a couple of days after moving in with boxes still everywhere our doorbell rang. It was a neighbor coming over to say welcome. My first thought was “how nice!” I invited her in and we began getting acquainted. After 30 minutes had passed and she showed no sign of leaving, I must confess I so wanted her to leave. After all, I had boxes to unpack and a long, long list of things that must be taken care of when you move from one state to another: new car title and license, new driver’s license, new car insurance, and my list went on and on.
Finally she left and I told my husband I was worried that she would be a nuisance. She was elderly and clearly lonely. She also repeated herself several times. I dreaded the time she might take up coming over to visit.
Then, I remembered what Jesus said and I felt the Spirit’s conviction as I realized I have an abundance of time. My husband and I are both retired, we only have one daughter and her family living close by. We have lots of time to enjoy.
So – will I be willing to give up some of my time – my abundance of time – to spend time with this neighbor – listening to the same story and showing interest as if it was the first time I had heard it? Do I really need to spend all my time just doing what I like to do, just enjoying myself or do I need to give my all as Jesus would have me do?
So I have determined to visit this woman every week, to take an hour or two to sit and listen to her stories, to make her feel important to me. To give out of my abundance.