Charity Isn't About What You Give

It's about your heart.

Luke 21:1-4 (ESV)

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

God doesn’t need the money.

When we give to a ministry, we often think about helping or increasing that ministry. Thus, fundraising banquets tend to highlight the impact our contributions will make on the people we are trying to help/reach.

That’s why it’s important to recruit as well as fundraise at those banquets. Different people have different resources. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. (1 Corinthians 12:14) All gifts are precious, but time is more precious than money.

But what is the widow thinking? How could she think her two coins would have any impact? Yet, she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on. What’s going on here?

The widow has just tossed her trust in her own resources into the box. All she has left is God. She will live or die based on His provision.

This turns the whole concept of impact on its head. Jesus commends the widow’s offering, not for the impact it will have on the temple, but for the impact it will have on her. “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them.

That’s why time is worth more than money. People can give money that they won’t miss, but every minute is precious.

And when you actually do charity, you lay your heart on the altar. You don’t know what’s going to happen next, and you don’t know how it’s going to affect you.

Like the widow, you have to trust God.

In the spirit of the Good Samaritan, we are called to have compassion for our neighbors. Some of that is what we do, but it’s also about how we feel. Since we have been forgiven much, we should love much.

For the operation of the grace of God is such, that when it comes into our hearts with forgiveness it makes us merciful.” – Martyn Lloyd-Jones “Studies in the Sermon on the Mount”

Ask the Lord for a more merciful heart. Consider your own sin and the forgiveness you’ve been given.

Ask the Holy Spirit to seize upon that to soften your attitude and make you more sympathetic to the plight of others.

The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.