Giving is not something that comes naturally to some of us, to others we would give it all away it it was not nailed down. This is the season when we think most about giving to others who are less fortunate than ourselves, but we forget about them the other 11 months of the year.
When I was in youth group our church would take food and gifts up to a coal mining community in Harbin, Ky. I looked forward to this trip every year. We spent weeks getting everything together from the gifts to getting the food baskets together. Each family would get a huge food basket , like the ones from Second Harvest with a turkey, bag of potatoes, dry goods, and canned vegetables. We would load the food in the largest U Haul you could get and the gifts were taken up with a semi. We would leave that morning around 5 am and go up on a charter line bus. The number of people from the church that would go was amazing. We would get there unload in a local school gym and set up by family. We had a local coordinator who was amazing. She knew the families and knew who needed help and who didn’t. she also knew how to handle them when they came by and had not registered but needed food. We always took extra food baskets. I have such special memories of those years in Harbin. I have never seen such poverty or such thankfulness. The kids were so excited to see us come but at the same time it broke my heart to see them with no coat hardly warm clothes on and this was in 1997-2000 were the years we went up there. I have never been outside of the U.S. except to Canada, which I don’t think that counts.
What is the size of your heart this season? Do you have a heart two sizes two small or has it grown so large that it overwhelms you that you must give our of the love inside and joy you have experienced?
The widow and her last offering are found in Mark 12: 41-44. She had very little but gave all she had. Jesus noticed this and called His disciples over and explained to them that she gave more than any other person present. What Christ’s says was the heart behind the giving. You can give a ton of money to a cause but if your heart or reason behind the giving isn’t right it means nothing.
Here are some observations Matthew Henry made on the subject of the Widow and from the perspective of Jesus.
I. There was a public fund for charity, into which contributions were brought, and out of which distributions were made; a poor’s-box, and this in the temple; for works of charity where God is honoured by our worship, it is proper he should be honoured by the relief of his poor; and we often find prayers and alms in conjunction, as Acts 10:2, 4.
II. Our Lord Jesus takes notice of what we contribute to pious and charitable uses; whether we give liberally or sparingly; whether cheerfully or with reluctance and ill-will; nay, he looks at the heart; he observes what principles we act upon, and what our views are, in giving alms; and whether we do it as unto the Lord, or only to be seen of men.
III. Those that are rich, ought to give richly; if God give abundantly to us, he expects we should give abundantly to the poor; and it is not enough for those that are rich, to say, that they give as much as others do.
IV. Charity begins at home
1. That giving alms, is an excellent good thing, and highly pleasing to the Lord Jesus; and if we be humble and sincere in it, he will graciously accept of it, though in some circumstances there may not be all the discretion in the world.
2. Those that have but a little, ought to give alms out of their little. Those that live by their labour, from hand to mouth, must give to those that need, Eph. 4:28.
3. It is very good for us to straighten and deny ourselves, that we may be able to give the more to the poor; to deny ourselves not only superfluities, but even conveniences, for the sake of charity.
4. Though we can give but a little in charity, yet if it be according to our ability, and be given with an upright heart, it shall be accepted of Christ, who requires according to what a man has, and not according to what he has not; two mites shall be put upon the score, and brought to account, if given in a right manner, as if they had been two pounds.
5. It is much to the praise of charity, when we give not only to our power, but beyond our power, as the Macedonian churches, whose deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality, 2 Cor. 8:2, 3. When we can cheerfully provide for others, out of our own necessary provision, as the widow of Sarepta for Elijah, and Christ for his five thousand guests, and trust God to provide for us some other way, this is thank-worthy.
What is the size of your heart this season? Give abundantly and allow God to use whatever size gift you have to bless those around you whether it is your time or it is monetary.