“And He [Jesus] looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, ‘Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” Luke 21:1-4
I was reminded earlier this week of this passage. My little brother came up to me one afternoon and handed me a Ziploc bag with a bright orange sticky-note on it. The note said “Here is some moneY for the OrPHAnAGe.” [sic.] Inside the bag were four crumpled dollar bills. This same little brother, every morning at breakfast, asks if he can pray for the orphanage.
His gift humbled me because it was unexpected. He is very careful about what he spends his money on, and he often spends it on gifts for others. He gave what he could and didn’t worry that $4 is almost nothing compared to the $70,000 needed to build an orphanage. He gave what he had.
When we were in Haiti, I was struck by the generosity of the Haitian people. Despite the fact that they have virtually nothing, they offered us what they had. They invited us into their homes. They greeted us with smiles. They spent their days cooking meals for us in the hot outdoor kitchen. Someone even sacrificed their fatted pig for our dinner one evening! In that case, they were literally giving the food off of their table, all they had.
How often do I think I’m being generous by throwing a $20 bill into the offering plate? The story in Luke shows us that the dollar amount has nothing to do with it. Our generosity is not measured by a dollar amount. That is so hard for us to wrap our American-minds around! Generosity is measured by our heart. Do I give until it hurts? Am I giving to the point where others would call my actions reckless? Am I truly offering all I have to the Lord?