By Jeff Keaton
And Jesus sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And He called His disciples to Him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44 ESV
I am so glad that Jesus included this story in Holy Scripture. He always has such a powerful way of getting past the façade to the real issue. If you or I had been sitting in the temple as this story was played out, we no doubt would have completely missed this giant of the faith. The Pharisees surely missed her. They were all about outward appearance and worldly score keeping. They loved to put on a show and make sure that everyone was watching. They were most likely shaking hands and swapping stories with the big donors. They were anxious to count the offering and surely this little lady, who dropped in the equivalent of one penny, slipped by completely unnoticed. However, Jesus never misses anyone whose heart and motives are completely sold out to Him. He called the disciples over and made the most amazing proclamation, “She has given more than all the rest!”
We can all be generous givers no matter how much money we possess!
I have often had people tell me how much they wish they had a million dollars to give to a church I was pastoring or lately to RENEWANATION. They seem surprised when I tell them that God’s work is rarely built on the money of millionaires. It is almost always built on the few dollars common folks choose to give over and over again. Generosity is never determined by the dollar amount of the gift.
Jesus scores us on the sacrifice required by our giving, not the amount.
In many ministry settings I have been around, the places of honor and leadership are reserved for those who write the largest checks. This is not all bad because often great giving shows great commitment. However, a person who gives thousands of dollars may in reality be far less committed than a person who gives a hundred dollars. Jesus commended this lady because she gave all she had out of her poverty while others were only giving a small percentage of what they had out of their abundance. Sacrificial giving always impresses Jesus.
Sacrificial giving requires a high level of faith and trust in God.
This little lady gave all that she had. Just imagine with me for a moment how you and I would respond if God asked us to give away everything we owned today. We would all be whining and fussing and looking for a spiritual counselor to talk us out of it. This lady simply gave everything she had because she believed in her heart this was what God desired from her. One of the reasons God asks us to be very generous is to prevent us from growing so comfortable that we never have to rely on Him. Falling in love with our money and possessions will prevent us from using our resources in ways that please the heart of God and promote His work on earth.
I spoke at a small country church a few months ago. I did not receive a great offering from this church even though the people were very excited about the cause of Christian worldview education. A few weeks after speaking at this church we received a $100.00 check in the mail and the following note:
Jeff, Enclosed is a check in the amount of 100.00 for Renewanation. There will be times when I won’t be able to give, but I will when I can. I only have a small SSI check each month that doesn’t cover what I pay out each month. I sometimes take care of an elderly lady, except when she goes in the hospital or her daughter comes to stay with her. I will help every way I can because this is such a good thing you are doing for our children. God bless you for what you are doing.
When I read this letter, my heart was deeply moved upon. I am humbled by this precious lady’s willingness to sacrifice so deeply so that we can offer more children the hope that a Christian worldview education will bring to them and our world.
Stand in the gap
A few weeks after receiving this letter and $100.00 gift, we received a gift that was greater than $100,000. The donor who sent this large gift met me in person one day and was so anxious to tell me why she gave so much. She told me that she had been feeling that God was calling her to “stand in the gap” with us. She said that she contacted her broker one day and told him that she wanted to transfer $50,000 worth of stock to RENEWANATION. As her broker placed her on hold, she said the Lord spoke to her and said, “I thought you wanted to stand in the gap.” She replied to the Lord, “I do.” She said the Lord spoke to her again and said, “Then double your gift.” Immediately she thought, “that’s a lot of money.” As soon as her broker came back on the line, she told him to double the amount of stock that would be transferred. As she shared this story with me, tears welled up in her eyes as well as mine. I was so blessed by her willingness to obey and I was honored to think that the Lord is speaking to people in this manner.
Even though there was a great difference in the amount of these gifts, both of them were given from obedient and faithful hearts and so in God’s eyes, both were of equal value.
Individual supporters, like the two just mentioned, are helping to provide the resources necessary to awaken pastors, parents and educators to the need for Christian worldview education. We believe God is creating a new movement in the realm of Christian education. All over America, people are beginning to understand afresh and anew that what we teach our children for 16,000 hours from Kindergarten – 12th grade really matters.
Contact us today to better understand how you can help us fulfill the great mission of offering millions of new students a Christian worldview education. Whether much or little – it all matters if given from an obedient, faithful heart.
Volume 5 Issue 1 - The Renewanation Review