Lately, I've been learning a hard lesson - the lesson of generosity and seeing all things as blessings from God and not my own. Time, for example. A gift from God to take another breath, and yet we hoard it, as if we had "earned" the time we have. Money is another example. We are given every dollar, through the grace of having a job (or our parents being blessed with jobs) and yet we hoard it, purchasing things that make ourselves happy.
Yesterday in small group, we studied Luke 20:45-Luke 21:4.
The Widow's OfferingAs he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins."I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."
It just really struck me how... these rich people probably gave a lot of money, and yet the one that was praised was the widow. It was a matter of sacrifice. Sure, the rich people probably gave a lot, but to them, it was no sacrifice. They did it with the wrong heart behind it - to be praised by others. The widow in this passage had little status in this world, as she had no husband, but yet she gave all that she had, knowing that no one would notice it. She still gave. She knew in her heart that God cared about her and would provide for her needs. Her giving was an act of humble worship.
It really convicted me. And it goes back to stewardship. Am I giving of my time, money, and everything else I've been blessed with? Or am I merely living a comfortable life? This morning, God tested that very thought in my heart.
I was walking to work in the rain, and saw two people from Mott's Hospital standing outside to bucket. I usually don't have any change in my pockets or on me, so when the first person approached me, I said, "Sorry, I don't have any change on me." She thanked me anyway and I kept walking. However, as I was reaching into my pocket, I discovered I had 4 quarters in my jacket. The first thought that came to my mind was that I could buy a snack later at work... but God quickly challenged me on that. "You have 4 quarters to give." That was all the change I had on me, but I found myself going back to the people who were bucketing and dropping all the change I had into their buckets.
It seems like a small thing - I mean, it's a $1 - but it was a lesson in learning to give what I had, even if it was just a little bit. God cares about the heart behind our giving, and I know He's going to continue to show me different ways in which I can give more selflessly!