The Heart of a Giver
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. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
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.” (Mark 12:41-44)
Money is always a sensitive issue inside and outside the church. There is often a perception that churches just want our money, and with the overhead of caring for a building and its people, it is often difficult for church leaders to fully trust God with their financial well-being. It is also hard for believers to have this same kind of trust with personal finances.
Isn’t it intriguing that Jesus often talked about money, but rarely dealt with the amount we give? Our horizontal thinking typically focuses on how much money is needed or given. Conversely, the vertical style of Jesus is always to look at the heart of the giver, regardless of the amount.
It is fascinating that Jesus chose on this particular day just to sit down and deliberately watch people give to the Temple treasury. He watched as rich people came and put in large amounts of money. No word of either commendation or condemnation was given. People gave as they normally did, not realizing that God in the flesh was watching their activity and considering the generosity of their spirits as they did so.
What really grabbed Jesus’ attention as He watched, however, was a poor widow who came and put in two very small coins. Jesus pointed out this particular act of giving to His disciples and turned their thoughts about giving upside down. From heaven’s vertical perspective, these small coins were worth far more than the great wealth that was being poured out by the rich. The wealthy were giving from their abundance. The poor widow gave everything she had.
Nothing has changed about Jesus as He watches our giving today. He’s still looking at heaven’s bottom line, which has nothing to do with how large the gift is, but rather, how large the heart of the giver is and the attitude in which the gift is given.
Listen: Spend a few quiet moments seeking God. Be attentive to whatever He may speak to your heart.
Reflect: How is the Spirit leading you to respond to what you have heard from God?
Confess and Repent: If there is something the Spirit convicts you of, take time to prayerfully confess it. Resolve to turn from it if it is sin, or step toward whatever He is leading you into that you have either neglected or not seen before.
Ask: Father, You are the ultimate giver. I realize that every good and perfect gift comes from You. As I draw near to You today, would You give me the cheerful heart of a generous giver? Help me not to consider how much I can keep, but how much I can give. Give me the faith to have times in my life when, if You lead me to, I can willingly follow in the steps of this poor widow and literally give all that I have for the sake of the kingdom.
- Would you spend some time today with Jesus asking Him about the condition of your heart toward giving? What changes do you think God wants to make in your giving habits?
- What do you spend regularly on yourself for things like special coffee, eating out, new shoes, entertainment, etc.? What could you as an individual and/or your family do without so that you could give more to the work of the kingdom?
- 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Generosity is a gift as well as a spiritual discipline. Examine your heart each time you give and ask God to help you to become a “cheerful giver.” It may require some stretching toward a deeper trust in God . . . who owns it all anyway.
Taken from Vertical with Jesus by David and Kim Butts. © 2022 PrayerShop Publishing.