Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mites

And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. (Mark 12:41-44 KJV)

When studying giving, I’ve heard people say how grateful they are that they can give more than this widow. Last night our pastor illustrated how penurious we are.

A church was going to institute a program that would be costly to start. The pastor was talking to members of the congregation. One of the wealthier, when asked if he would help with funds, replied, “Of course! You can count on me for the widow’s mite.”

In the following service the pastor told the congregation that the funding had been pledged. That one single individual had been contacted, and fully supported the program. After services the man came the pastor and asked him what he meant. The pastor responded, “You promised the widow’s mite. She cast in all that she had, even all her living. I know the cash value of your holdings and they more than cover the costs.”

Of course, our congregation laughed at the illustration – but the point was true. The widow gave all to God. And God noticed. I doubt the wealthy man described above would fit the following verse:

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7 KJV)

And, of course, that verse is incomplete without:

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. (2 Corinthians 9:6 KJV)

Thanks be to God who measures us by the heartfelt intentions of the gift, not by the amount. For neither the mite nor millions count in heaven, but whether it is our all that is given to God.

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