I own a solid gold necklace.
It is a beautiful piece of jewelry.
And it's heavy – literally!
The price of gold is currently around $1350 an ounce. So this necklace would definitely be, as they say, *worth its weight in gold!*
It's a treasure – and it would be quite a gift if I gave it away, wouldn't it?
Now what if I showed you two pennies – two tarnished, beat-up pennies?
They've been sitting in a dish of spare change for who knows how long.
They're not worth much.
In fact, in today's economy, they're probably not even worth two cents!
Back in the day, they could buy something – a piece of candy or such.
But now, the penny is so worthless, we don't even like having them rattling around in our pockets.
Many stores have little trays where you can "take a penny, leave a penny."
If you don't want your pennies with you, leave them. (For the most part, I'm an equal taker-leaver...)
So, giving away these two pennies wouldn't be much of a gift, would it?
Today I want to talk about a woman who gave something away…
"While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins." (Luke 21: 1-2, NLT)
Jesus was in the area of the Temple called the Court of Women.
In this area were seven boxes in which worshipers could deposit the Temple tax and six boxes for freewill offerings. It appears that Jesus continued watching the giving for some time, and He observed a number of wealthy persons making gifts.
This woman gave a freewill offering of two mites.
At the time, a mite was the smallest of copper coins, normally equal to just 1/8 of a cent!
Though it might seem that her offering was small, her gift was a sacrifice, for it was all that she had.
Her gift made an impression on Jesus, and He commented on it:
"'I tell you the truth,' Jesus said, 'this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.'" (Luke 21:3-4, NLT)
Today, I'm not going to talk about financial giving – I'd like to expand the story beyond the issue of money.
The issue here is not that the woman had given more as to value and substance – but that she had cast in more in proportion to what she had.
Her gift was counted as more by Christ, and more highly valued and esteemed by Him, because Jesus – the One who sees the heart, and knows all things – knew that she had given FROM HER HEART.
Yes, my friends, the Lord desires no greater gift than the gift of yourself.
He wants more than financial offerings – He wants you to KNOW Him and to LOVE Him.
He is to be loved with all your powers and capabilities, with your time and your talents, with all aspects of your personality, with every ounce of your heart.
Mark 12:30 (NLT) sums up this greatest gift:
"And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength."
Jesus uses the poor widow's offering to teach an important lesson.
A gift is not to be evaluated by its size, but by a comparison of the gift with the total possessed by the giver.
In the secret, innermost part of your heart, have you laid your life on the altar?
Have you presented everything you have, and everything you are, to Him?
May God help us to be like this faithful woman as we give our very selves in His name.
That's my two cents...
What are you giving to God of YOURSELF?
A penny saved
is a penny
But if you give up your life
you will find it.
"'To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.'" (Mark 12:33, NIV)
"What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams." (1 Samuel 15:22, NLT)
"'I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.'" (Hosea 6:6, NLT)
"What can we bring to the LORD? What kind of offerings should we give him? Should we bow before God with offerings of yearling calves? Should we offer him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil?...No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."
(Micah 6:6-8, NLT)
"And now...what does the LORD your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the LORD your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul." (Deuteronomy 10:12, NLT)
"You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit." (Psalm 51:16-17, NLT)
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship." (Romans 12:1, NIV)
"Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God."
(2 Corinthians 2:14-15, NLT)
"Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!" (Psalm 141:2, ESV)
"He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less." (John 3:30, NLT)
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