Read Mark 11:1-12:44
The Offering Police
“Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how
the people put money into the treasury.”
Go Deep: It was offering time in the Temple, and Jesus was watching! He was the “offering police” that day, and he didn’t just happen to notice what people were giving, he was watching them like a hawk. He was not just observing the quantity of each gift, he was assessing the quality of those offerings as well. Jesus was providing a kind of a play-by-play commentary of offering time at the Temple on that particular day.
How would you like that next Sunday when the ushers receive the offering? What if your pastor came off the platform with the microphone and provided a running commentary on each gift, announcing the amounts in the offering envelopes and revealing if they were proportionate to the giver’s income or not?
Well, that won’t ever happen in most churches I know, certainly not in mine. But I’ll tell you what: It sure would spice up offering time! There would be no need for an offertory; the choir could take a break; the solo could be saved for another part of the service. The play-by-play would be more than enough, wouldn’t you say?
Of course, I am being facetious, but you get the point: Your giving is private, but God knows. He knows what is in your bank account, and he knows what is in your heart. He knows if you are giving joyfully, generously, sacrificially and worshipfully, or if you are giving grudgingly, stingily, selfishly and just for show.
The amount doesn’t count; it’s the heart that God wants in your giving. The poor widow gave only two mites—the modern equivalent of not even one penny. But she gave all she had. She gave out of her poverty, trusting that the God toward whom she was being so generous would now be generous toward her.
The others that day gave out of their abundance, but they put nothing on the line in so doing. They still had plenty, so there was no sacrifice, no trust, no risky faith involved.
God probably won’t require you to empty your bank account the next time you give, but he wants you to empty your heart. In other words, he wants all of you when you give. He wants your ongoing stewardship to be characterized by love, generosity, sacrifice, risky faith, and expectant trust.
Before you give again, I hope you will give that some thought. And next Sunday, when it’s offering time, take a moment to thank God that there will be no play-by-play commentary.
Just Saying… Here is some great advice I once heard: “Give according to your income, lest God make your income according to your giving.” Now I’d say that adds a compelling dimension to stewardship!