Luke 21:1-4, Sacrificial Giving

Looking up, [Jesus] saw the rich people putting their gifts into the treasury.

And He saw also a poor widow putting in two mites (copper coins).

And He said, Truly I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them;

For they all gave out of their abundance (their surplus); but she has contributed out of her lack and her want, putting in all that she had on which to live.

Luke 21:1-4

Four small verses, huge impact. You know how when you are reading the Bible and all of a sudden a certain phrase really just sticks out to you. Like the Holy Spirit is saying, “Hey! Stop! Wait! Check this out…” Well that happened to me yesterday as I was reading the Bible. In particular, the line where Jesus explains to His listeners “that [the rich] all gave out of their abundance (their surplus); but [the widow] contributed out of her lack and her want”. What was really striking to me, as if it were being waived in front of my face with flashing lights, was that they gave out of their abundance, their surplus. I love the Amplified translation because it pulls from the Hebrew and Greek and inserts words in parentheses that the original listeners would have understood. Here that word surplus helped me understand that they weren’t just giving a lot cause they were rich or abundant in their wealth, they were instead giving out of the excess, the leftover money, the money that wasn’t required to pay all the bills and cover expenses for everything else. They were giving their extra money….This really makes me think of Malachi chapter one where the priests were giving God animals in sacrifice that were of no good to them. The animals they were sacrificing wasn’t much of a sacrifice because they were giving God the blind and lame. The ones they didn’t need and could not sale or even give as tax payments since they were of no value. How dare they insult God in this way? God also was pointing out to me, through the nudging of His Spirit, the words that the widow was “contribut[ing] out of her lack and her want”. So really this picture, again wasn’t about how much the original person had financially – it was their heart condition before God. How did they perceive God and then treat Him with their sacrificial worship?

Then God decided it was time to drive the point home to me – specifically in regards to time….If you notice I haven’t posted a blog post since April. Now I’m not saying God is superly overly concerned with me writing on the blog. What I am saying is this is an indicator of how I have been giving or withholding “my” time from God. During this season in my life I am going to school full time, working a part-time job ( I know could be way worse) while also making efforts to be productive around the house and as a wife and dog owner and as a friend etc. etc. Often times I feel the pressure and weight of the cares of this world to the point that I feel that I don’t have time to study the word in-depth and so I limp along spiritually praying most days, skipping some and only reading the Bible, I must confess a bit less than I pray, and not really delving in to study it in-depth. The quality of the time I provide to God is not really sacrificial by any means, and it is pretty lame. Although it is true that my time is lacking, that I am in want of more time in general, I am being like the rich people at the temple, reserving my quality Bible study for breaks between school, when I have an abundance, a surplus of time. God is really convicting me about giving time to Him out of a lack or out of want of time. My actions in this area reflect my faith and trust or lack thereof, as well as my respect in a sense for God as my Father and for God as my Master. As Malachi 1:6 points out, a son is to honor his father and a servant to revere and fear his master.

The faith of the widow is evident, giving her money out of a lack or out of a want, especially when you consider that she gave to God “all that she had on which to live”. But really we should all surrender everything of ourselves to God. If we are truly to be a bond servant of God than the money and time and all resources that we possess should really be at God’s complete and utter disposal….that is the cry of my heart.

Lord I want to be at your disposal. I want to be in-tune with the Holy Spirit. Led by and controlled by You. A vessel poured out in sacrifice for the glory of God. Lord You are my Father. You are my Master. I can trust you. Give me the strength to be steadfast in serving You, the sensitivity and discernment to hear and the faith to be quick to obey.

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].

Romans 12:1-2

Ark of the Covenant | An Offering

Exodus 25:1-8

An Offering
God commands for an offering to be taken in order for the sanctuary to be built.

Key points:
1. Is that He commands for it only to be collected from those who give it willingly and ungrudgingly:

“And the Lord said to Moses, Speak to the Israelites, that they take for Me an offering. From every man who gives it willingly and ungrudgingly with his heart you shall take My offering.”

Application:
The key point is that God only would accept an offering from those who gave it willingly. He did not want it from those who would give with the wrong attitude in their heart. He did not want an offering of legalism or with any resentment attached, but one of worship, with a true desire to give. Today the same applies, no matter if we give 10, 15, 30, 50 or 70% to God we need to make sure our hearts our free from any resentment and that we are with willing heart, actually desiring to give to God. Trusting Him and worshiping him with our tithe and our offering. When resentment or greed rear their ugly heads we should be quick to confess and repent, asking for God to create a clean heart within us.

2. The offering was to be of gold, silver, bronze, blue, purple, scarlet, fine twined linen, goat’s air, rams’ skins tanned red, goat skins, dolphin/porpoise skins, acacia wood, oil, spices, onyx and other stones.

Application:
I wonder how many people today would give God some gold, silver or bronze with a willing heart or without any resentment. Not too many of us possess these types of articles, but what would the equivalent be? Our money, our TV, our piano, our nice clothing, our possessions of value and quality. How many of us without any  resentment would willingly give of our own personal possessions? Seriously consider what your reaction would be in the event God asked you to give an offering like this. What does the outcome reveal, do we value our things, our money, our possessions more? Do we trust in what we have more than God to provide for us? Matthew 6:31-34 says:

So do not worry, asking, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. Instead seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.

Right before this passage Jesus commands us by saying:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where theives break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destory and where theives to not break in and steal. For where your treasure is , there you heart will be also.  Matthew 6:19-21

This conviction hits me particularly hard today. Even this past week I happened to be shopping for winter clothes since I didn’t have any snow boots and no heavy coat. We just moved somewhere where shoveling snow is a part of life and going anywhere requires facing extreme cold. I couldn’t find anything that fit me or that was affordable and time was running out before the snow started falling. Instead of trusting in the Lord, praying about it and seeking His kingdom first I gave into worry, even frustration and impatience. I hate to admit that I sinned in my frustration and anger towards God and my husband. It is the clarity of God’s Word and the strength of His promises that I should be relying on instead of being so short sighted and consumed in my own selfishness…

Lord please help me to give willingly and without grudge or resentment. Heavenly Father please help me to remember that you are Jehovah-jireh, my Provider. Please open my eyes to recognize opportunities for generousity. Please open my ears to recognize when you are commanding me to give an offering. Lord please also burden my heart in response to and open my eyes to recoginze my greed, selfishness and worry.