When You Give
“For it is in giving that we receive.” —St. Francis of Assisi
Renowned preacher Charles Spurgeon and his wife would sell, but refused to give away, the eggs their chickens laid. Even close relatives were told, “You may have them only if you pay for them.” As a result, some people labeled the Spurgeons as selfish and greedy.
The couple accepted the criticisms from their community for years without ever defending themselves. It was only after Mrs. Spurgeon died that the full story was revealed.
The Spurgeons had used all the profits from the sale of eggs to support elderly widows in the community. Because they desired their giving to be known only to God, they endured the attacks of gossips in silence.
Do you remember this scene from Mark’s gospel? “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” (Mark 12:41-42).
The rest of the story: “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 12:43-44).
The concept of the tithe is taught in the Bible—a gift of 10% of the first fruits of your labor. No doubt, there are those whose gifts don’t amount to a tenth, yet it is a tremendously sacrificial amount. For others, giving a tenth may be robbing God—so trivial to the giver it’s like leaving a tip.
What’s evident in this account is it’s not the amount that is important—it’s the attitude of the giver and the sacrifice in bringing the gift. Like the widow’s offering, when we give and it costs us, God notices.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 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” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
How sacrificial has my giving been? Have I given with a cheerful heart and an attitude of thanksgiving and praise? Have I given in such a way as to gain the approval of men, or so God alone sees and is glorified?
My prayer this week – Lord, thank you—you are the giver of all that is good! I recognize all I have has come from you. Will you foster within me a cheerful heart to give and a willing heart to give sacrificially?