Yesterday, I wrote to you about the first two days of Holy Week: Palm Sunday and the following Monday. My desire is that by focusing on what Jesus did during the week before Calvary, we can prepare our hearts and minds for the celebration of Easter and grasp the magnitude of what Jesus did on the cross. I pray you will join me in searching out the things in our hearts that might keep us from fully knowing the magnitude of what Jesus did and replace those things with complete praise and thanksgiving.
Yesterday, we looked at the size of our faith. Today, we turn to sacrificial giving.
To do that, I want to take a look at another small passage in the gospels where Jesus takes a seemingly insignificant incident and turns it into a teachable moment. These are the sweetest tidbits of scripture tucked neatly between confrontations and conversations. I hope you will join me
One of my favorite vacation pastimes is people watching. Maybe you know what I mean. As you sit quietly on a bench, maybe in a park or shopping mall, people stroll by doing what they would do. Chatting, eating, shopping, enjoying the sunshine. They are completely unaware they are being watched and are the subject of my entertainment.
You learn a lot about people by watching what they do and observing people is what Jesus did best. People’s words, responses and reactions always made clear their motives and their true heart.
On Tuesday Jesus concludes His public ministry. He sits back, perhaps exhausted from the day’s verbal battles and watches the people move through the temple court. Jesus is people watching. It is while watching the people in the temple court that He observes the ostentatious giving of the wealthy and the sacrificial giving of a poor widow.
A Widow’s Gift
From where he sits, He clearly sees the collection boxes. There were 13 horn-shaped boxes for collecting money each one for a specific need. The wealthy Jews were dropping in noisy heavy coins, a bit of their excess wealth. I suspect it was common for the wealthy to make a big ruckus about their giving. Perhaps they believed it made them seem important. Sometimes, we make grand gestures to be noticed. We need the attention. Jesus, I’m sure, was not impressed. It was when He observed a poor widow willingly dropping two small coins into the brass box that moved Jesus to speak.
“Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said,
“Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.
They all gave out of their wealth;
but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
Jesus points out the difference between the widow’s giving and the wealthy people’s giving. The wealthy gave from their abundance. There was more where that came from. On the other hand, the widow gave the very last bit she had; there was no more. She gave everything she had. She was willing to sacrifice everything she had for God. To Jesus, the amount of the giving mattered less than the attitude of the giving.
The wealthy worried little about their well-being. They trusted in their money to provide all they needed. The widow gave everything and trusted in God to provide for her needs. What do you trust in to take care of your needs? Your ability and money or God’s provision?
The widow also serves as a picture of sacrificial giving. Jesus didn’t count the amount of the giving, He counted what it cost the giver. The widow gave everything she had. When she turned from the collection box she was destitute again. She gave her total self to God’s will. She gave everything. Jesus does the same thing in just two days. On Friday of this week in Jerusalem, Jesus will give His all for us. He will give his life to pay for our salvation.
What will we give?
As we prepare our hearts for Easter, I hope you will consider how much you are willing to give God. Will it be out of abundance or are you willing to give everything? Is your attitude toward giving, whether of yourself or your money and gifts, willing or more out of obligation?
I challenge you to consider how much of yourself you will give to God. Will you give all of your heart, mind and soul? Or, will you hold something back for your purposes? Jesus is a keen observer of people. He can’t be deceived. He knows the attitude of our heart. He asks for all of us and He will in return give us all of Him.
So, today, Tuesday of Holy Week, I pray you will stop to pray and prepare your heart. Ask God to show you the true attitude of your giving. Is it sacrificial or self-serving? What more does God need from you? What are you willing to give?
We don’t know what happens to the widow but I like to believe that God honored her sacrificial giving by providing for her physical and spiritual needs in ways she never imagined. She remains an honored example of giving over two thousand years after she dropped two tiny coins in a brass box. Which proves our sacrificial giving, both in money and heart, has long lasting implications.
Father, praise You. Thank you for giving us the gift of Jesus who gave all He had so that we could enjoy salvation. Search our hearts today and show us the attitude of our giving. Forgive us where we seek the attention for our giving and teach us to give all we have where we have nothing left only trust in You.