Most of us, feel a certain sense of duty when we give. But not only that, we feel good when we do it. And along with this feeling comes content if not pride. What good people we are for giving! When it comes to what we can give, it's not just about the material. We can share what we already have, give some money, give our time, our attention, our knowledge or even some advice. It seems everyone can give. No matter the culture, values or you name it! And to prove it, we should look at children. Most kids learn to share or give from an early age. And this can only be possible because they have seen those around them do it.
But what does giving really mean?
A familiar passage that has never failed to blow my mind answers this question. In Luke 21, a short account reveals to us that not all giving is the same. It's the story of the widow with that gave the little she had into the temple treasury as opposed to the rich that gave a lot more. But what was the difference between the two? Well, she gave ALL she had whereas the rich gave A LOT out of the abundance they had. One key contrast: it hurt her to give that small change but the rich barely felt a thing giving the huge bags of money they gave because they had much more.
It hurt her!!
Imagine giving till you are inconvenienced!
Let's be real, most of us give out of our convenience and when it starts being inconvenient well, we pump the breaks. Let me prove it to you: how many times have you agreed to meet someone knowing you have a bunch of other things to do or you just want to rest? Most times we think twice, say a blunt no or try to work around it in a way that is convenient for us.
But according to Jesus' reaction to the widow's mite, it seems real giving is giving till we are inconvenienced. In fact, sacrifice is key to true giving. We cannot just throw a few cents at someone and start patting ourselves on the shoulder. It's not just about the act alone, but the heart that goes with it! And this notion of sacrifice seems plain when we look to our model, Jesus, who gave Himself TOTALLY, when it was everything BUT convenient! He died on a cross, in pain and unable to be looked upon by God, His father for goodness sake! What could be any more inconvenient?
I think we need to re-evaluate our hearts & actions when it comes to giving. We need to stop thinking we have done the whole world a favour because we "gave". We need to understand that sacrifice is key. Now, I'm not saying you should be inconveniencing yourself for others just for the fun of it to the point where you forget yourself, no. There needs to be a balance, and let's not forget "wisdom is the principal thing" (Proverbs 4:7). It's all about being sensitive to a lack, a need, nearby or far off and responding. And even if you cannot totally fill that lack, it's ok, give what YOU can. The widow with the two mites could never have enriched the temple with her money but she gave what she had and that was what mattered.
We live in a world where it's "dog eat dog" and everyone is trying to get what they want or think they deserve. We often forget others. We often forget to give. We often forget how to give. As I stated earlier, giving is not just in the material. In fact, the deepest lacks are not material. Giving your time, your attention, your words of encouragement, your space, your presence..these are beautiful forms of giving! And we've somehow forgotten this. A little sacrifice in the form of a few minutes; sacrificing that time alone; letting someone else share your space, reaching out to someone; showing you care...can go a mighty long way.
It's not just about throwing something someone's way when you're feeling generous or when it's okay with you.
Remember sacrifice, rhymes with giving.