3.13.09, Mark 12:41-44

The Widow’s Offering

 41Jesus 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. 42But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.

 43Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Generous Poverty

I hate to do this, but I’m going to skip a passage in this book, a passage about Jesus’ sonship – the explanation is complicated, and has to do with Jewish understandings of Messiah, Lordship, David, and Sonship… and I frankly don’t get it myself.  I’ll be sure to ask Jesus when he comes again, and I’m sure this passage is really cool.  But for today, we move on!

And the reason I want to discuss an idea that it will get only more relevant as this global recession continues: generosity.  What is the difference between how we define generosity, and how Christ would?  We typically define generosity by the total amount that we give – if someone gives $9000 a year to charity, that’s pretty good; but if someone gives $100,000 in a year, that’s real generosity!   Obviously the one who gives $100,000 is more generous than the person who gives $9000, right?

But the obvious problem arises when you ask the question of how much money that person has to begin with.  If you make $30 million dollars a year, a $100,000 is only 0.3% of your yearly income…really just a drop in the bucket.  But if you only make $30,000 a year, giving $9000 to charity is 30% of your income, 100 times the percentage the other person gave!  Who is more generous then?…the one who gave 0.3% of their money, or 30% of their money?

We must realize that true biblical generosity is sacrificial.  It is not the total amount that it is the heart of the matter – it is if that offering truly cost you something to give.  And we’re not talking just about money, but of every resource that God has given us.  When we spend time with or for God…was it precious time, or was it spare moments reading the Bible while sitting on the toilet?  When we tithe, are we giving only a sliver of what we have, or more than we can spare?  When we worship, what does God get…our best, or the rest?

What do you think God deserves?

Questions

1. What resource, gift, skill, of your life do you have the most difficult time sacrificing to God?

2. A non-Christian friend asks you, “You tithed 10% to the church…in this economy??  Are you sure that’s a good idea?”  How would you respond to them?

3. What is one way in which you can give sacrificially of your finances?

4. What is one way in which you can give sacrificially of your time?

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3.13.09, Mark 12:41-44

The Widow’s Offering

 41Jesus 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. 42But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.

 43Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Generous Poverty

I hate to do this, but I’m going to skip a passage in this book, a passage about Jesus’ sonship – the explanation is complicated, and has to do with Jewish understandings of Messiah, Lordship, David, and Sonship… and I frankly don’t get it myself.  I’ll be sure to ask Jesus when he comes again, and I’m sure this passage is really cool.  But for today, we move on!

And the reason I want to discuss an idea that it will get only more relevant as this global recession continues: generosity.  What is the difference between how we define generosity, and how Christ would?  We typically define generosity by the total amount that we give – if someone gives $9000 a year to charity, that’s pretty good; but if someone gives $100,000 in a year, that’s real generosity!   Obviously the one who gives $100,000 is more generous than the person who gives $9000, right?

But the obvious problem arises when you ask the question of how much money that person has to begin with.  If you make $30 million dollars a year, a $100,000 is only 0.3% of your yearly income…really just a drop in the bucket.  But if you only make $30,000 a year, giving $9000 to charity is 30% of your income, 100 times the percentage the other person gave!  Who is more generous then?…the one who gave 0.3% of their money, or 30% of their money?

We must realize that true biblical generosity is sacrificial.  It is not the total amount that it is the heart of the matter – it is if that offering truly cost you something to give.  And we’re not talking just about money, but of every resource that God has given us.  When we spend time with or for God…was it precious time, or was it spare moments reading the Bible while sitting on the toilet?  When we tithe, are we giving only a sliver of what we have, or more than we can spare?  When we worship, what does God get…our best, or the rest?

What do you think God deserves?

Questions

1. What resource, gift, skill, of your life do you have the most difficult time sacrificing to God?

2. A non-Christian friend asks you, “You tithed 10% to the church…in this economy??  Are you sure that’s a good idea?”  How would you respond to them?

3. What is one way in which you can give sacrificially of your finances?

4. What is one way in which you can give sacrificially of your time?