Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, "Truly, I tell you, this poor wedow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on." Luke 21:1-4
Be Cautious When Judging the Offering of Others
Anyone standing by and watching the widow present her offering might have thought poorly of this woman. We see it on Sundays at church too don't we? The offering plate goes by and a person reaches into their pocket and tosses a few singles and some change or maybe a ten or twenty in. If you are a regular attender at church then chances are at one point or another you've judged a person for that. After all, a tithe or 10% would obviously be more than twenty bucks a week right? Here you are giving an actual tithe and they are sticking in enough to buy a pack of gum.
I'm not saying you shouldn't lovingly encourage a friend to give more if you know them well and think they can grow in this area. I am saying we all need to guard our hearts from the quick judgments we tend to make based on the very little information we tend to have.
Give Til It Hurts
This woman sets an amazing example for us. If she can give to God out of her poverty, then we are truly left with no excuse. We tend to come up with reasons to justify not giving money to God at church. I'm a teen without a job, I don't have to tithe yet. I'm a broke college student, God understands. I won't be able to pay the bills if I give 10% to God. Gas prices go up, tithe amounts go down. I use my money in other good ways, God sees my heart so I don't have to give to the church.
Let me just be real and honest with you. Where you put your money is an amazing indicator of what is most important to your heart. Jesus said it this way, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21) Excuses like these ultimately just reveal one thing, God is not a priority to you.
All of us need to regularly look at our income, our spending, and our tithing and ask the question, "Am I honestly giving sacrificially to God? Am I just tossing Him chump change or am I actually giving til it hurts? I think that needs to be our standard of giving. Give til you hurt. If it doesn't hurt, its not sacrificial.
When we see this widow giving, we are just plain left with no excuse. Our money is ultimately a blessing from God. We need to choose to honor Him with it. If it comes down to a choice between having cable TV or honoring God, we need to honor God. If we can either go out to eat with friends after class or save that money so we can tithe this Sunday, we need to be willing to miss out.
So while I'd discourage you from judging the way others tithe, I'd highly encourage you to judge the way you are tithing. Where do you spend your money? How much are you giving to God? Is it anywhere near 10%? What can you give up in order to give more generously to God? Does your money reflect that God is a priority to you? I'd encourage you to spend some time in prayer, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in this matter, and follow the conviction He lays on your heart.
Ultimately, the way we give generously reflects our understanding of and desire to live out the Gospel. God generously gave His Son and has not withheld a single good thing from us. We are called to generously give back to Him and to the church to continue the cause of the Gospel.