Poor giving

Poor giving

And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. – Luke 21:1

Luke 21:1-4

 1 While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box.

 2 Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.

 3 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them.

 4 For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”

Remember the old days you could take your piggy bank filled with coins to the local bank have them counted out for paper currency.

Those days are not completely gone. Enter Coinstar.

Coinstar is a company that provides claim counting kiosks. Coins are counted and converted into cash, gift cards, or donations to charity. Many major US supermarkets have Coinstar kiosks.

You can bring your coins and toss them in. Select your desired exchange option. Clink, clink, chachung, chachung, and you’re done

In the temple there was an area called the treasury. The treasury had thirteen trumpet-shaped collection containers. They were narrow at the top and wider at the bottom.

People would throw their coins into the trumpets. It does not take much imagination to visualize the coins hitting the top and ricocheting their way down making noise as they went. The bigger the offering the louder the noise. Perhaps the phrase, “blowing your own horn” is somehow distantly related to this.

Imagine the impoverished widow with her two coins. She tosses them in, and they almost imperceptibly go, clink, clink, clink. The rich man comes along and tosses in a lot of gilt. Imagine, chachung, chachung, chachung. Looking about, it would have been a proud moment indeed. 

As these events unfold Jesus is watching, He is watching carefully. What does He see? He sees one person who was extremely rich and another person who is extremely poor. They are both doing the same thing, giving. Most of us would focus on the rich man and the great quantity of what he gave. But the Lord Jesus does not. His attention is drawn to the poor widow. The comments the Lord Jesus makes reveal much about how the Father views giving.

Why were they giving? What is their motivation? The answer uncovers what makes giving poor or valued. What really matters? Certainly not what we would naturally think. It is normal to be impressed with the size of a gift, with little regard to the personal sacrifice that went into it. The Father is not impressed by the size of gifts. But rather considers the attitude of the giver’s heart. In doing so, the Father turns everything on its head. It is not how much someone gives away, but rather how much someone keeps. In the end, you might say that the poor widow got her two cents in.

Two things determine the value of any gift. First the spirit in which it is given. Good gifts are the inevitable outflow of a loving heart. The second is the sacrifice which it involves. That which is a mere trifle to one person may be a vast sum to another. The gifts of the rich did not really cost them much; but the gift of the widow cost her everything she had (Barclay).

Some people give because they cannot help it. There is a kind of a reckless generosity at work. Others minutely calculate precise percentages to obtain their appropriate amount.

“No one has ever become poor by giving” (Anne Frank). Yet people can become impoverished by not giving.

REFLECT & PRAY

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness” (Martin Luther King, Jr).

Father encourage me to be wise and generous in my giving.

INSIGHT

Giving is not merely about money. It’s about time, caring, listening, sharing, nurturing and being interested in and responding to the needs of others. In the Torah, the five books of Moses, the Father laid out principles of sharing. One of His principles is the practice of gleaning.

Lev 19:9-10

 9 “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest.

 10 And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God.

Gleaning is all about sharing the harvest without giving away the farm.  

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