It was offering time in the Temple, and Jesus was watching – and offering running commentary on what people were giving. How would you like that next Sunday at your church when the ushers received the offering? What if your pastor came off the platform with the microphone and commented on each gift, announcing the amounts in the offering envelopes and revealing if they were proportionate to the giver’s income or not? Of course, that will never happen, I hope, but the point is, Jesus is watching how you handle his money, and hoping that you do it generously.
The Journey: Mark 12:41
Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money.
It was offering time in the Temple, and Jesus was watching! He was the “offering police” that day, and he didn’t just cast a brief glance and happen to notice what people were giving, he was watching them like a hawk. He saw the quantity and evaluated the quality of each gift. 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 at your church when the ushers received 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-by 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 her meager generosity toward God would now turn into his lavish generosity toward her.
The others that gave in the offering that day gave out of their abundance, but they didn’t put their faith on the line in doing so. They still had plenty, so there was no sacrifice, no trust, no risky obedience involved.
God probably won’t require you to empty your bank account the next time you give, but for sure, he wants you to empty your heart. That is, 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. And at the very least, as Peter Marshall said,
Give according to your income, lest God make your income according to your giving.
Check your bank statement. Truly, this is one of the leading indicators of whether God has taken over your life…or not!