Generosity

Yeah I know, two posts in one day! What is the world coming too????

In my devotional reading the other day the author quoted an anonymous writer and I wanted to share the quote with you.

“The test of generosity is not how much you give, but how much you have left.”

Take a moment to read that through a couple times more and let it sink in.

Jesus told a story about a women who came to the temple to give her offering to God. Others around her poured their offerings into the trumpets and could hear the clattering of coins and it became a prideful moment. The louder and longer the sound the greater the perception was of their generosity. She gave two mites – coins so small they didn’t even make a sound going down but according to Jesus she demonstrated greater generosity than anyone else that day. Why? It had nothing to do with what she gave, but what she had left. Nothing.

Let that word sink in for a moment, “nothing.” Could you imagine life with “nothing”? No home, no car, no income, no bills, no toys and on and on.

The contrast in the story has to do with faith – where does your faith rest? Does your faith rest in your power to create, earn income, to support yourselves with essentials BUT more importantly the ability to reward yourselves with lots of toys? Or does your faith rest with God who is creator of all things and provider of all things?

If we were truly and brutally honest with ourselves almost all of us would have to answer with the first statement. We aren’t generous; we aren’t even close to generous because we keep more than we need for the essentials in life, we keep enough to pay for all the toys we want.

At most restaurants it is customary to tip your server 15% of the bill for the service they render. If you go to an upscale restaurant with a large party they will automatically add 18% to the bill as the tip. How come we will tip someone 15% at a meal but we “can’t” tithe (10%) to God? We don’t even come close to tipping God who is the creator of all things, who gives you everything you have and who let’s you exercise free will in your choices of how you use these resources.

As you reflect on the story of the people in the temple we should be wrestling with it and struggling because very few if any of us can legitimately align ourselves with the widow. Almost all of us have to see ourselves as the other characters in the story – uh, the ones who’ve got it wrong. To honor God means that you’re giving a minimum of 10% of your earnings to God through your local faith community. An offering is the ability to go beyond 10%. So are you generous by God’s standards or spending the bulk of it on yourself?

The test of generosity is not how much you give, but how much you have left.

I would love for others to weigh in on this subject. Please post your comments.

Blessings for the journey!

About Jim Hoffman

Pastor, teacher, leader, novice blogger, wanna be author and Christian conversationalist. Passionate about environmental architecture - creating spaces where people can foster new or growing relationships with each other and God. Currently leads a faith community on Ward Parkway in Kansas City and happily married to Margaret. Blessed with four adult children and two grandsons.
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