Where do you fall on the spectrum of giving things away? We all have a slightly different viewpoint about the proper value and use of money. We read stories of very wealthy people who are misers, and others who are admired for their philanthropy. When J.D. Rockefeller was asked how much money is enough, he responded with, “One more dollar.” Compare that to Bill and Melinda Gates, who are turning their wealth into agents of change.
What about me? While I like to think I am generous with what God has given me, I think about wanting what I contribute to matter. I sometimes think like this, “It would be so cool if I could put money towards finishing Project X. Then I would feel real ownership and know I made a difference.” I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that — unless it results in pride — but it is different from what Jesus praises in the passage in Luke.
The poor widow gave God everything. Each of the small copper coins was the smallest coin with buying power. It was not like our penny or nickel, because nothing can be bought with them. Coin experts estimate that each copper coin from that time had the buying power of about a dollar. For someone with nothing, they had significant value. They might buy a piece of bread or a bit of oil. Perhaps it is a stretch, but the fact that she gave both coins meant that she didn’t give just because she had to give something. If that was the case, she could have given one coin. She gave because her attitude toward giving was “all in.” Her giving was significant – for her and God.
The rich gave large gifts out of their wealth. Sure, their gifts might have been “significant” to projects like upgrading the temple or paying the priests. However, we can see that their hearts were coveting their own significance. And Jesus knows hearts.
So, do I give significant gifts? Do you give significant gifts? God knows.
Key Thought: “God loves a cheerful giver.” II Corinthians 9:7
Foothills Elder, Chair of Global Impact Team