What Kind of Giving Pleases God?
In keeping with how Jesus came to fulfill the Old Covenant Law, rather than obliterate it, Jesus emphasized the importance of our heart’s condition when we give.
It’s sacrificial giving He wants – giving that moves our heart, giving that is a stretch and requires faith.
In Mark 12, we read that Jesus observed people putting money into the temple’s offering box and instead of being impressed at the many rich people putting in large amounts, Jesus was moved, instead, by a poor widow who gave two small copper coins – the equivalent of a single penny in today’s economy. Scripture tells us: “And [Jesus] 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. 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” (verses 43-44).
Jesus wanted to see people give sacrificially, not ceremoniously. He saw a cent from a poor widow as more of a gift than a full 10 percent or more from a wealthy person. My husband and I tithe as a matter of discipline and as a guideline of a good starting point and then add to that as we can. We have chosen to do this because giving a tenth is, in our case, a huge financial stretch. Therefore, giving a tithe is, for us, a matter of sacrifice and trust. And trust in Him grows our faith and reaps many rewards.
Furthermore, Second Corinthians 9:7 instructs, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” It would seem that it’s difficult to give cheerfully when giving sacrificially, but the joy comes when we repeatedly see and understand how faithful God is when we give obediently, according to how we’ve determined in our hearts.
Can you give cheerfully, confident that the work you are giving toward is being done for God’s glory? Then give freely and generously. If you have doubts about whether giving to a certain church or organization or believer will truly glorify God, pray that His Holy Spirit will direct your giving according to where you are learning and being fed spiritually through the Word of God, and where the genuine needs are among His body of believers.
For more on trusting God with your finances, and principles for giving generously, see the book Cindi and her husband, Hugh, co-authored: When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection.
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