Mark 12:41-44 (NIV)

41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.  43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything–all she had to live on.”   

1 Corinthians 13:3 (NIV)

3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.   

DEVOTION -John D. Bown (Minnesota)

Recently we completed our church stewardship campaign.  The program consisted of a series of messages, starting with the big picture of living for Christ.  We then discussed how stewardship fits into a life that is pleasing to God, including the Bible’s guidance on managing money.

As stewardship chairperson, I set up a meeting with our pastor before the campaign began to discuss how we would determine the success of the campaign.  I expected his response to be something along the line of a 5% increase in total giving, or perhaps more people pledging this year than last.  But when I asked the question, I was surprised at his answer.  He said his view of success would be seeing people move closer to god.  The more I reflected on his response, the more I realized he was right.

The widow in today’s story gave generously, and Jesus commended her for it.  I honestly believe that God doesn’t care how much we give, but how we give – from the heart, joyfully, with a desire to move closer to God as an act of trust.  If we are moving closer to God – in our worship, prayer, service, and witness – then our joyful, generous giving will follow as a natural expression of our thanks to God for all God gives to us.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Generous giving expresses our thanks to God.

PRAYER: O God, teach us to give joyfully so that we move ever closer to you.  Amen.