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Monday, December 12, 2011

It Is Not How Much You Give But How Much You Keep

And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. Mark 12:42-44

It isn’t how much you give that counts – it is how much you keep. Nothing tells more about you than what you keep. Many look upon tithing as being a real sacrifice. Giving God 10 percent is something only the most sanctified people do! Look at it this way: you sit down with your money and you start two piles – one for God and one for you. You put one in God’s pile and 9 in yours. “Then one more for God and nine more for me.” When you think of it like that it makes us look very selfish, doesn't it? Not exactly the kind of neighbor everyone would love to have!

The rich may give a lot, but in God’s eyes it isn’t as much as the little that is given ...when it is all that you have. Nothing pleases God more than when you give Him your ALL. The person who does this is saying with their actions that they believe God’s cause to be much more important than their own. They are saying that they trust God to be generous with them and take care of them. After all, He said He would, didn’t He? They are proving that their heart loves God more than their “stuff” or their riches. No wonder God is pleased! It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor. The issue is, does God have it all? How tightly are you holding on to what is yours?

It is not only our increase that is at issue here. God states clearly in the Bible that He wants our heart. He wants our life, energy, and strength to be spent in reaching others and being the light of the world. How much of your heart does He have? How much have you kept for yourself? Have you really given him ALL that you have? Are you really willing to do whatever God asks you to do? Go wherever He might ask you to go? How deep are your tent pegs driven?

God is good to us in all things, and in this matter He is good, also. You must admit that God is good NOT to require a certain amount from us. He doesn’t require a certain amount of money or a certain amount of ability or achievement. That would exclude most people from the blessings of God. He simply asks us to do what we can, and we all can do that. Trust Him enough to give Him ALL that we have – that’s all! “She hath done what she could,” Jesus said of the woman who broke the alabaster box of very precious ointment and anointed him with it. It wasn’t the cost of the ointment, but the fact that she did what she could. Notice the “ALLS” in the greatest and first commandment, according to Jesus:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with ALL thy heart, and with ALL thy soul, and with ALL thy mind, and with ALL thy strength: this is the first commandment. Mark 12:30

What God expects of us is very clear and yet almost everyone thinks that token offerings and service is good enough to please God. Just barely show up for church two or three times a month. Just drop your dollar bill in the offering plate when it passes and you’ve done enough to keep God appeased for a while. Everyone reads the story of the poor widow’s mite and they condemn the rich man in their heart and praise the widow, but they are in fact just like the rich man themselves. They only give to God out of their abundance. They only give Him token service and offerings and keep all the rest for themselves.

What about you? How much of your time do you spend for God and his cause, and how much do you spend taking care of your own cares? How much of your thought is given to the things of God, and how much do you spend thinking about your own causes, problems, and pleasures? How much of your money goes to God’s work and to help others, and then how much do you spend on yourself and your own desires? You might look pretty good if you compare yourself with other people, but that is not the measure God uses.

Skeptics scoff at the idea of giving all you have to God. They have said that such people are “so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good.” Giving your all to God doesn’t mean that you totally abandon the things that pertain to this life. We must live in this world and take care of our business, but our instructions are clear:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matt. 6:33

So go ahead and just cast it ALL in. Don’t give God only token service and offerings. You can trust Him with your all and you can count on the fact that He will take care of you when you do.

Mike Miller
December 12, 2011
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1 comment:

  1. You are absolutely correct about what defines TRUE generosity...I could almost bet my life that God would agree with what you are saying. Capitalism is a sin and a much greater evil than socialism.