We’re studying through the Gospel of Luke. Jesus is nearing the time for His sacrifice on the cross. As He sits for a while at the Temple of Jerusalem, it brings up some questions we need to answer in today’s church.
What’s your attitude toward offerings at church? Do you consider it a necessary evil? Do you look forward to the chance of investing in God’s kingdom? It turns out that the Lord takes an interest in how we give.
As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.
Luke 21:1-2 NIV
There are some things about Jesus that you need to know, especially in regard to your giving. As the pastor of a church, I know that where people choose to sit tells a lot about them. Jesus chose to sit right in line with the offering boxes so that He could watch people as they gave.
It’s interesting that the literal Greek of this verse says that the Lord watched knowingly, how the people put their money in the box. Whether you know it or not, how you give is as important to God as what you give.
That’s because true giving is an act of the heart. Jesus explained the underlying principle.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Matthew 6:21 NIV
This statement brings it all into focus. At offering time, do you feel like you’re giving your treasure to God? Or do you feel like you’re giving money to the One that you treasure? In other words, is Christ your treasure, or is money your treasure?
As Jesus watched the rich give money, they weren’t affected by it. They gave out of their overflow. What they put in the treasury wouldn’t change their standard of living.
The widow, on the other hand, gave everything. Money that could have been used for food or other necessities was now gone. That made an impression on Jesus, and He called it to the disciples’ attention.
“I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
Luke 21:3-4 NIV
The Lord’s commentary is important for us to hear. There’s a “break-even point” in our finances where our expenses equal our income. He explained that the rich gave from above that point. The widow gave all that she had, even though she had less than breaking even.
But there’s more Jesus said that we miss because of the translation. In the original, the Lord said that the widow put in all that she had, her whole life.
She wasn’t just giving her money to God. She was placing her very life in His hands. That’s the attitude that’s needed in our giving.
It’s not just my money that belongs to God. It’s everything that I have, even my very life. All that I am – my time, goals, dreams, possessions – I must place it all in His hands.
Offerings are not simply a tradition of the church that we have to do each week. It’s not something I do to get God off my back for another week. It’s an opportunity to once again confirm to myself and the Lord that all of my life is His.
This widow may have thought that her giving had gone unnoticed. But the truth is that God saw it, and it moved His heart. I know without a doubt that God met her need and sustained her because of her faith. That’s the true attitude of giving.
Question: What goes through your mind as you give your offerings?
© 2022 Nick Zaccardi