Extravagant Generosity Day 9: 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.”

One of my favorite things to do is to people watch. It is something I picked up from watching my grandfather spend afternoons on the front porch watching the cars drive by. There is something fascinating about watching people, looking around, and seeing what different people do with the life they lead.

When I read this selection from Mark 12:41-44, I cannot help but picture Jesus simply watching the people go by. He is sitting in the Temple where the various offerings were collected. We don’t know how long Jesus sat there observing the scene, but we do know that what he saw left a lasting imprint on him and gave him something to discuss with his disciples both then and now.

What he saw were two very different ideas of giving. Some gave out of his wealth and others, especially one particular widow, gave out of her poverty. Obviously, the rich givers gave more than his poor widow, but Jesus says it was the widow who gave the most on this particular day.

This is very interesting, and let’s be honest peculiar to our way of thinking. Our mindset is to believe that those who give more are more generous. We gravitate ourselves to those who have more, and lean on them for support and financial backing. But, Jesus doesn’t applaud the rich giver. He values what the woman in poverty gave.

Why is that? Jesus looks deep within her heart and reminds us of something very important. Giving isn’t about the amount that we give, but about the relationship attached to the giving. The widowed woman gave out of her relationship with the Lord and her desire for her gifts, what little they may have been, to be used to glorify God and serve others. That is true giving. That is giving based on a deep love and a transformed heart.

That is a giving that, I hope, inspires us today. Giving should never be about giving more financially than the next person or about doing what is expecting. Giving should be about a heart experience that expresses our love of the Lord and with each other. Some will be able to give more. Some will be able to give much less. But a generous giver will be willing to give whatever they can, in what ways they can, so that others might be blessed by it.

How does your relationship with the Lord influence your giving? For the widowed woman, her relationship with God defined her life and willingness to give. What about you?

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