Giving from the Right Account

by Mark Smith

A few months ago, my wife was buying tickets online for our recent trip to Guatemala. When she was ready to make the purchase, she yelled upstairs to ask me if she had the green light to go ahead with the buy. Because I manage our finances (if you can call it that), I told her to make sure she put it on the credit card to not max out our regular account.

To my wife, all credit cards are alike, and she proceeded to make the purchase with our debit card. You can imagine my surprise the next day when I received several alerts that our account was overdrawn! I later had a clarifying conversation with my wife on the difference between a credit and debit card. Whether at home or in your business, using the right account makes all the difference in the world.

The same is true for God.

Mark 12:41-44 recounts the story of “The Widow’s Offering,” in which Jesus takes notice of the woman’s humble gift above all the other offerings. If you are not familiar, here is the story:

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” (ESV)

God clearly does not evaluate our gifts and our giving the same way we do. The greatest reason for this is because we normally evaluate this exchange based on the value of the gift, compared to the need of the recipient.

Take children’s birthday parties as an example. Most families that I know have a set value in mind that they can spend on each party to which their child is invited. Then, you and your kid walk up and down the isles trying to find an appropriate gift within the price range you have established. When your kid selects a toy that is over your established price, you’ll consider it based upon how special their friendship is or the financial need of the kid. If the child is from a humble family, you are usually inclined to give more based on the need of the kid.

This equation does not work in relation to our giving to God because He doesn’t need anything we have. Acts 17:24-25 says: The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. If God needed our gifts, he might consider the quantity of our offering or the size of his need. Since He doesn’t need anything from us, He views our giving in a different way.

The reason the widow’s offering was considered greater than all the others was because she gave it from the right account. While the others gave out of their abundance, she gave “out of her poverty.” The others gave out of what was financially feasible, and the widow’s gift revealed here dependence on the Lord.

Does this mean that the rich can never please God with their finances? No. It does mean that the sacrifices and offerings that truly please God are from the hearts of those who humbly understand their undeniable dependence on God. As God takes you to the edge of giving, loving, serving and sacrificing, it must all be done with a profound humility that every gift comes from God. (James 1:17)

The widow’s two copper coins were of greater worth than the riches of the others because true worship is expressed from the right treasure. Our gifts are acceptable and pleasing when they are given out of a singular dependence upon God. Make your commitment today to give to God out of the right account.

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