I can’t think of a better topic for the Christian Worker than “The Worship of Giving.” A phrase I used to hear growing up was: “Hit em’ where it hurts… their pocketbook!” And if you’re a preacher and have ever preached a sermon on giving, then you probably understand that this really rings true. Some people just have a difficult time parting with their money for any reason.
There is a word that frequently comes up in the brotherhood that strikes disgust in the hearts of men, and that word is “liberal.” How many times has this word come up in a conversation about someone or some congregation, and you just shake your head and think to yourself, “I thought they were sound”? What if I told you that I hope and pray everyone in our congregation were liberal! You may think I’ve become one myself; however, the Bible tells us to be liberal in a few areas. One is we are to be liberal with our love, as we see in Luke 6:32: “For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? For sinners also love those that love them.” The other area in which we’re told to be liberal is in our giving. Second Corinthians 9:6 says, “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”
Liberal giving is not a reflection of how much money we make but rather a reflection of the heart. I once heard a story of a teenager who when the collection tray was passed around dug in his pocket for something to offer when the man sitting next to him tapped him on the shoulder and handed him a twenty dollar bill. The teenager dropped the twenty into the collection tray and passed it on. After a while the man realized what had happened. He leaned over and told the teenager, “The twenty I handed you was yours, you dropped it in while digging for a one.” We need to realize God doesn’t need our money! Haggai 2:8 tells us, “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.” Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” It’s already His anyway! What he needs is our hearts!
When David was gathering supplies for his son Solomon to build the temple, he made a speech to the people telling them how much he had freely given and asked them to give as well. In 1 Chronicles 29:9 it says, “Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.” These givers had the right frame of mind; they gave willingly because their hearts were right.
If you look at Mark 12:41-42, you will see that the Lord was concerned with the people’s giving: “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:” How is it that this poor widow cast in more than those who were rich? Two mites is a very small amount, but Jesus answers this question in verse 44: “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.” She gave liberally! Imagine if the poor widow were to come into some great windfall and become rich, how much of her wealth do you think she would give?
I once worked with a naïve kid who made minimum wage. He was quite lazy and so I asked him why he didn’t work a little harder. His response was, “When they pay me more I’ll work harder.” Unfortunately, with that attitude he would never get a raise. Some in the church have the same attitude: “When I get rich I’ll give more,” they say; yet the widow of Jesus’ example gave everything she had because she desired to do so.