The Gravity of Giving
Friends, we are looking at Luke 21:1-4 and we have titled this passage as “The Widow has put in more than All”
So, we have been discussing this matter of giving and giving is the measurement of our commitment and our love for God because we can speak and preach about love for God but if it does not convert into the opening of our purse and giving of our money to the work of His kingdom, then all the words that we speak are really rubbish.
So that is something we must be very very clear about. But when we talk about measurement, giving is the measurement of our commitment and our love for God, we need to understand that carefully because we can get a wrong understanding when we make that statement.
So, measurement, not in the sense of how much of our money do we give for the work of the Kingdom of God and saying that, that amount is equivalent to our love for God, that would be a very wrong understanding to have.
But the measurement of our money that we give in the light of comparison to the financial commitments that we have to the other aspects of our life, to other areas of our life. And therefore, in the light of that comparison, in the light of that weighing of various other commitments that we have.
What is our financial commitment and giving that we are working with and doing in our everyday life, in our walk with God, into the things of the kingdom of God, that measurement in terms of comparison, and weighing what we are giving to the kingdom of God, compared to what we are giving to the other aspects of our life, is what is the matter of our measurement? That is what we need to understand.
So, the amount of money that the widow put into the treasury was very small, of little worth, but it was still money that she gave. But the important principle here was the amount that she gave was in the light of what was her financial burdens and commitments to the other areas of her life.
And in terms of the comparison, what did she give to the Kingdom of God is the core principle of this entire teaching. And so that is really where we need to zero in.
And say this is the principle of giving that we need to understand, the matter of the comparison with our commitment to the work of the kingdom of God financially, with our financial commitments and obligations and burdens to the other aspects of our life.
So, let's read this passage once again, Luke 21:1-4:
(1) “And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury,
(2) and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites.
(3) So, He said, "Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all;
(4) for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had."
So, we will focus on how did this widow give and we will consider that a little later. But let's look at this matter about giving in public, that we need to consider. We see an example in the Old Testament.
There was a plague that happened, and many people died. And we find that King David accepted responsibility for the plague. It was his fault and so we find that he repented.
And it was told for his repentance to be accepted and for the plague to stop, he would need to erect an altar and worship God, and this had to happen in the threshing floor of a person named Araunah and because the angel of God who was destroying the people through the plague was there at that time.
So, we read II Samuel 24:21-25: (21) Then Araunah said, "Why has my lord, the king come to his servant?" And David said, "To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people."
(22) Now Araunah said to David, "Let my lord the king take and offer up whatever seems good to him. Look, here are oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing implements and the yokes of the oxen for wood.
(23) All these, O king, Araunah has given to the king." And Araunah said to the king, "May the LORD your God accept you."
(24) Then the king said to Araunah, "No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing." So, David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
(25) And David built there an altar to the LORD and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So, the LORD heeded the prayers of the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel.
Friends, do you see what David is saying here? Then the king said to Araunah, No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing. So, David did not want to give anything to the Lord that did not cost him. It had to be an offering.
So, friends, the question is, Does the offerings that we give, the amount that we give for the work of the Kingdom of God, does it cost us?
Does it call on us to sacrifice, to give up on certain other aspects of our life and dedicate that amount to the Lord or is our giving only that which is surplus, that can be spared because this is really what was the problem with the rich people who are putting the money into the treasury. They gave what was surplus for them.
We read that in Luke’s Gospel 21 and verse 4, “For all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God.” It was not really costing them whereas, what we read just now in the act of David was, it must cost me. What I offer to God must cost me.
So, God is calling us to take our giving for the work of His kingdom very seriously, it has to be very intentional. It has be very deliberate.
We must think through what we are doing, what we are giving for the work of his kingdom must be weighed and compared with what we are putting aside for the other aspects of life.
We need to do that and say, Lord, this is serious, Master. Lord, I want to give for the kingdom of God. I can't give just what is extra or what is surplus?
That's how we need to take a call to cut down, to sacrifice, to give up, to do some things in our life that you feel this need not be done so that we can spare. We can take out more amount of money and release it for the work of the kingdom of God.
So, we see this example in Barnabas. Acts 4:36 & 37
(36) And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus,
(37) having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.
Now this action that Barnabas did, was out in the open. Everybody knew exactly what Barnabas did. What was the background to the money? Everybody knew that.
What Barnabas did had an effect on the people! People were really amazed. People were thrilled, people were excited and that thrill and excitement was what caught onto Ananias and Sapphira and they wanted to get the same kind of feeling from the people that Barnabas’s action had created.
But that's where they went terribly wrong and they made that terrible mistake. We know the judgment that came upon them and because God saw the heart, that it was not right.
What you are doing has to be in every way, the amount we give, the sacrifice we make, the setting apart that we do, all of it has to be done in a way that it is honouring God and not in any way that we are wanting recognition or praise from people.
So, friends, we see the gravity of giving, the seriousness of giving that God is showing us and God is calling us to apply ourselves to giving in a way that pleases God.
May the Lord bless us.
The Gravity Of Giving
May 17th 2021
Valentine Davidar previously served in Haggai Institute and World Vision and now builds the Body of Christ.
Photo by Jordan Rowland on Unsplash