Thursday, November 5, 2015

Mark 12:38-44 Symbolic vs. Sacrificial Giving

KEY TEXT: Mark 12:43-44 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."

KEY THOT: Jesus commended the widow for her giving, not because she was poor but because she gave sacrificially: “For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in EVERYTHING she had, ALL she had to live on." In gross terms, her giving of two copper coins amount to less than 10 cents, but it was all that she had and she gave it all away. Sacrificial giving is not defined by how much we GIVE but by how much we KEEP. Our gross giving may be many times the gross giving of others. But it’s symbolic and not sacrificial giving if what we KEEP is far in excess of what we give. As someone has wisely stated: “When God blesses us financially, don't raise our standard of living, but raise our standard of giving.”  

Giving is a real test of faith, especially for those whose income is barely enough to cover their monthly household and personal expenses. But someone once gave this challenge: “You can never outgive God.” We need to remind ourselves that giving to God is not an expense but an investment: "Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you" (Luke 6:38). While this is not a guarantee by Jesus that all who give will become rich, it does promise that we will not lose out when we give to God. God himself will personally guarantee that the return on our investment (ROI) in God’s kingdom business will always be positive, never negative—not just in the eternity future, but also in this life: "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold NOW IN THIS TIME, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and IN THE AGE TO COME eternal life” (“Mark 10:29-31).

Giving is an act of faith far more than just an act of obedience. We give because we believe that God is no debtor of any person: he will repay us for what we give to His kingdom work or to the poor and needy. The greater our faith, the more sacrificial our giving. Faith is measured by how sacrificial is our giving. Little faith, symbolic giving; great faith, sacrificial giving.

Father, grant us faith in our giving that it may always be sacrificial, not just symbolic. Amen.

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