2014-02-27 / Worship

The way of giving according to God’s chosen path of grace

(Luke 21: 1-4)

We know that we should contribute to the furthering of God’s kingdom, in the form of both money and the labor of our hands. But are we really fulfilling our duty when we toss a few dollars into the plate? Today’s passage tells of a shining example of offering to the point of sacrifice.

We first witness the difference in attitudes toward giving in the story of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:3-7). Abel’s sacrifices were more acceptable to God than Cain’s because Abel gave in the proper frame of mind. Cain simply turned some of the fruit of his crops over to God. Abel, on the other hand, sacrificed the very first and fattest offspring of his flocks on the altar. God was foremost in Abel’s mind, and that pleased God.

In Luke 21:1-4, Jesus and his apostles are watching people present their offerings in the Temple. After a series of rich men paraded by with their large, impressive gifts, there came a poor widow woman with her measly donation of two mites. The mite was the smallest and least valuable coin of the day. Even its proper name, “lepton,” means “small.”

The apostles didn’t seem to notice the woman, but Jesus did, and He used her to teach his followers a lesson. “This poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had” (verses 3, 4).

The implied question is directed toward us. Are we giving money and labor because we love God or because we desire to be seen by mankind as prominent church members? Real giving is carried out modestly, without fanfare, even secretively. And real giving involves sacrifice, not just from the excess in our bank accounts, not just in our spare time. We are really giving when we have to dig down deep and give of our substance, when it deprives us of more than just luxuries, when it cuts into more than just leisure time.

When Jesus gave his very life for us, it was not a casual thing. It was the ultimate sacrifice that bought us our salvation. Yet He prayed, “Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).

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