Mark 12:41-44 (NLT) 41 Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. 42 Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. 43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. 44 For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”
Giving during this time was an event at the temple. It would be like us having a box in the lobby of our church and you would give after the service was over. On this particular day, Jesus sat down across from where the offering box and watched the giving for the day. You say, how did we watch the giving? Well, the Pharisees would parade to the offering box with their long robes and make a big deal about how much they were giving. Their offering became more about the show then the heart. But then he watches a poor widow come and drop two small coins. The amount is insignificant, but to her, it’s all that she has.
John Wesley, “It’s All Yours”
We have a wonderful example of what this looks like in our doctrinal father John Wesley. If you’re not familiar with John Wesley he was an Anglican preacher who led incredible revivals in 18th Century England and was the founder of the Methodist church and subsequent holiness movement.
Author, Charles Edward White wrote an article about the spending and giving practices of John Wesley:
In 1731 Wesley began to limit his expenses so he would have more money to give to the poor. He records that one-year his income was £30, and his living expenses £28, so he had £2 to give away. The next year his income doubled, but he still lived on £28 and gave £32 away. In the third year his income jumped to £90, again he lived on £28, giving £62 away. The fourth year he made £120, lived again on £28 and gave £92 to the poor.
Wesley preached that Christians should not merely tithe, but give away all extra income once the family and creditors were taken care of.
In 1744 Wesley wrote, “[When I die] if I leave behind me ten pounds… you and all mankind [can] bear witness against me, that I have lived and died an thief and a robber.” When he died in 1791, the only money mentioned in his will was the miscellaneous coins to be found in his pockets and dresser drawers, he’s given everything else away.
Imagine the difference we can make in the world if we lived on less and gave more away. Just recently I had the opportunity to attend the Willowcreek Global Leadership Summit where saw an interview with Melinda Gates.
Bill and Melinda Gates, “It’s All Yours”
Bill and Melinda Gates are the Co-founders of the Gates Foundation. A Foundation that exists to put poverty and world disease into extinction. My favorite line of her’s was when she said, “It’s a hard job when you wake up every morning thinking how you’re going to spend Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s fortune.” The Gates Foundation has already received commitments from 128 other millionaires and billionaires to spend their increase.
This story stands in contrast to the story of the widow in Mark 12. In fact, what she gave could have equalled the amount that you would find under the floor mat of your car. But here’s the good news, that’s not true in God’s economy. In God’s economy it’s not the amount you give that matters, it’s the heart you give it with. When you look at the examples of extravagant gifts in the bible, it’s never about the amount, but instead, it’s always about the heart.
You will never truly give unless God changes your heart.