On Draining the Treasury

And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44

Churches talk a lot about giving. Some mention it frequently from the stage. Others thread it through most every sermon, never missing an opportunity to promote “cheerful” giving. The reality in megachurches is that there are a lot of mouths to feed who’ve grown accustomed to the finer things in life. It has to be that way to keep things afloat. You’ve got your corporate donors who stroke big checks to pad the wallet, and then, of course, the “widows’ mites.”

It’s very much like us buying the big house in the suburbs within a gated community. Along with this comes the huge mortgage and compulsory big salary. You’ve got to feed the monster to maintain your style of living. It’s a reality of life.

Here we read about how giving should be. Not the fact that the widow gave everything, but that she was obviously confident enough in God to recognize his worth—worthy of everything she had—and trustworthy enough to not worry about where her next meal would come from.

It’s quite difficult to operate in this fashion, that is, to dump everything, I mean everything into the offering bucket when doing so would put you in debtors‘ prison. For example, the rich young ruler walked away from Jesus rather than do it, ignoring the unseen riches of the kingdom. How about that same mega-church sharing all of its reserves “for a rainy day” on some acute need, even in its congregation.  Not likely. Oh, we of little faith!

One of the issues that plague us is who trusts a cause enough to drain their treasuries for it? In this situation, were the people with a lot doing it to curry favor with muckety mucks? Giving the widow’s way is a Masters level class. None of us will probably reach this lofty—or lowly—point in a first-world country.

The cure in my mind is to create your own “foundation” if you will. Set out to cheerfully give in response to the Lord’s nudging in your own sphere of influence, rather than to the endless pleas of those who get a share of what you give before it can fund a cause you believe in.

About Rick Reynolds

You'll find me in the far right hand corner of evangelical Christianity. I defy more categorization than that. Been studying the Word for 40 years and counting.
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