How does God desire us to give? If we had to sum it up with one word, we would say His desire is that we give with abandon. Why do we say that? Let’s start by taking a close look at a story we all know well.
“Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood. “(Mark 12:41-44)
Both Mark and Luke recorded the story of the widow’s mites. The mites mentioned here were two “leptos”, copper coins of common use in that day. Taken together they were worth about three eighths of a cent. So what is the big deal? It was like us throwing a couple bucks in the offering right? Well, not quite, in fact not even close. You see, Jesus says “she out of her poverty put in all that she had her whole livelihood.” For her, it was not a couple of bucks, it was everything, her housing, her meals, her life. How could she do this, give everything? Simply put, relationship. Note also, that she was not cajoled, conned, or otherwise bilked into giving. This was no special day or service, just an ordinary day, perhaps not even the Sabbath! She gave extravagantly because she had relationship with her Lord, or as she no doubt referred to him, Adoni. She was able to give all that she had, because she knew and trusted the TRUE source of her provision, Adoni, God, YHWH, Yehova Yireh, perhaps that one is the best one to use here, since she clearly knew him as God Who Provides! And that my friend, is why she was able to give with abandon.
There is another lesson here as well. The Word tells us that Jesus had stationed himself there to watch. Now remember that Jesus said He did nothing except what He saw the Father do in heaven. In His watching the offering then, we have a clear message. The Father is watching, OUR Father is watching our giving, not WHAT we give, but HOW we give.
Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation. (2 Corinthians 9:5)
What is your heart attitude? Are you giving joyously, with abandon, because you are intimately, and passionately engaged with the Lover of Your Soul, and just want to please him? Or are you giving grudgingly, perhaps even willingly, out of a sense of duty? Guess which is pleasing to God? For another example of this type of giving, let us turn to Second Corinthians chapter eight:
“Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also.”
Here Paul is writing to the Corinthians of the great grace (“Charis”: grace. That which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness, grace of speech. Good will, loving-kindness, favors) bestowed upon the church in Macedonia. Just what is this “charis” bestowed upon them? That they gave liberally, lavishly, even beyond their ability. They were in a great trial of affliction; that is they were being strongly tested, being pressed on many sides. They were also in deep poverty, things were not just a little tight, for the Greek implies that they were under a situation of extreme beggary. Like the widow, they were pretty much down to nothing. So here we see the church in Macedonia, their backs against the wall, staring deep poverty, perhaps even starvation in the face. How do they respond? By giving! Not in a stingy or miserly fashion, but with a super abundance of joy! They had nothing, but in their giving they were exceedingly rich. It would seem that their gift was so extravagant in the face of their poverty that Paul did not want to receive it, for they literally begged him to accept it.
God delights in our giving when it is given with passion, and joy, as the expression of a heart overflowing with love. The widow’s mite was small, but the heart of love in the giving made it huge!