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. 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 12:41-44 (NIV)
These three small verses describing offerings given to the Temple open up our understanding about giving that pleases God. Jesus takes a few minutes off His teaching and preaching schedule to observe the Temple offertory box.
After awhile, Jesus notices two kinds of givers. One lot, comprising of the rich and affluent casually threw in their share. This group’s offering formed the major chunk of the collections. Jesus was not impressed by anyone who belonged to this group. The only one who did attract Jesus’ attention was a poor widow who gave just two very small copper coins, which was all she had.
The widow’s offering didn’t sum up beyond a few cents unlike all the other donors who filled up the Temple treasury. Why then did Jesus call His disciples’ attention to this widow’s petty contribution? Simple because while others threw in their money, carelessly, hurriedly and without a second thought, the poor widow put her copper coins into the money box sacrificially, entirely and completely trusting her God to take care of her as she stepped out of the temple.
Though the Bible makes no further mention of the widow or how she made it after giving up everything she had to live on, something tells me this widow must have experienced the Lord’s provision every day of her life.
Our giving does not make God rich. He is not in need of any of our possessions for the earth and all that is in it, including money belongs to Him. However, God looks for those who give out of a heart of love, out of a desire to please Him, and trusting Him to take care of their needs rather than the money in the purse. This is the kind of giving that glorifies God, and this is the kind of giving that God delights in.
Christians are trained to tithe, give to missions, support the poor and donate to various Church projects. Sometimes your giving can become so monotonous that you set aside an amount and throw it into the offertory box with absolutely no feeling. Your name may feature on the highest contributors’ list, but you end up as a pauper in God’s rating simply because God is not interested in how much you give. God looks at the heart of your giving.
What motivates your giving? Is it to please God or is it to find favor with men? Do you give much just to appease your conscience? God is not in need of your wealth and He is one person who can never be bribed.
Whether you are a seasoned believer or a newbie, search your motives in giving to God. Have you put in your share out of love or are you throwing in your wealth out of duty, to earn appreciation? Jesus made no mention of the highest donor that day. It was the meager copper coins that caught His attention. Will your giving catch His attention today?