The Heart of Giving

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Mark 12:41-44

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.”

I wonder what Jesus was thinking when He watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. I wonder also what Jesus is thinking when He watches me give my money for the work of His Kingdom or how I respond when I am asked to give my possessions and time for His ministry on earth.

Whether in my giving of the tithes or the offerings, I think the most important thing I need to remind myself is that God is the Creator of all the earth. He made “the cows on a thousand hills” (Psalms 50:10) and all the plants and creatures in the sea and the land are created by Him. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, God made and owns every one of us and He is responsible for the functioning of our every breath and our every heartbeat. The very fact that we are alive is due to His mercy sustaining us.

With that firmly in mind, what do you think Jesus is thinking when He watches us give to His Kingdom’s work? Dr Stephen Tan, Pastor at River, taught in one of his sermons, that we must not give from a poverty mentality. What exactly does it mean to give from a poverty mentality? In my meditation on this, I figured that if I gave out of a poverty mentality, I would be thinking to myself:

1) I don’t have enough money to give.

2) If I give, I would not have enough for…..

3) If I give, what can I expect in return? Would God return my giving by giving me more money, possessions, favour and so on, so that I do not lose out by my giving?

4) If I give, what about my family? Who will provide for them?

5) If I give, what about my future needs?

If these concerns are in our minds when there is a clear instruction in God’s Word for God’s people to give towards the work of God, do you think we would be able to give generously?

Let us address our doubts and concerns:

1) I don’t have enough money to give.

Answer: Give in faith trusting that if we see to the needs of the Kingdom, God will see to our needs.

2) If I give, I would not have enough for…..

Answer: What exactly have we planned to spend that money on? If there is a need, we should let God know in our prayers and then give and trust God to provide that which we need or want.

3) If I give, what can I expect in return? Would God return my giving by giving me more money, possessions, favour and so on, so that I do not lose out by my giving…?

Answer: We must never view our giving to God in the same way as we view our material investments. Instead we should view giving to God in the same way a loving father views his giving to the needs of his young children. The loving father gives out of his love for the needs of his child. A father who expects his children to return his “investment” is not a loving but a calculative father. Therefore, give to God out of our love for Him.

4) If I give, what about my family? Who will provide for them?

Answer: Give to God and trust that as you give to Him, He will more than see to the needs of your family.

5) If I give, what about my future needs?

Answer: We should not hoard for our future, somehow trusting that if we do, our future will be secure. We should trust God for our future needs since He owns “the cows on a thousand hills” and He knows our future needs more than anybody else.

If we believe that God created the world and He created us and gives us life, we should be truly indebted to Him. We do well to remind ourselves that whatever we have in terms of money or possessions, it is God who has given to us in the first place. God created us while we were in our mother’s womb and He sustains us through giving us life on earth. He has provided us with all we need to live life on earth and all that we have comes from Him. He has also given us His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, so that through Him, we may obtain eternal life.

What more do you think we will lack when we have God as our Heavenly Father?

Think again: What do you think Jesus is thinking when He watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury?

Let us pray.

Dear God, You are the Creator of all the earth and all that are within it. My life belongs to You and all that I have comes from You. I commit to be an obedient and generous giver to Your Kingdom work so that many more lives may be blessed. Help me to always be giving out of love and gratefulness toward You and never for my selfish gain. My trust and hope are in You, O Lord. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”

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