You’ve heard the story in which you are asked to imagine a jet air liner in a nose dive from 39,000 feet. There is a clergyman on board, and the stewardess comes to him and whispers “We are in a bit of a crisis on the flight deck, can you do something religious?” (she imagined he would pray for a miracle). Instead he said “Let’s take up a collection.” That’s how many folk see clergymen and the church – irrelevant , stupid, and in a crisis when push comes to shove, merely after your money.
I guess the rather slanderous comment that the church is always begging for your money gives rise to those theatre vicars rattling collecting boxes under everyone’s noses, in aid of such causes as the church renovation scheme. It might surprise you to know that one subject most ministers hate mentioning is MONEY. It is possibly because it looks as if they are begging for their own upkeep, that they are so wary of speaking about giving. Therefore I thought we should take another look at the subject of Christian giving during these next few days, for here is a startling fact. Any kind of our giving does not impress God! Do you know why? I’ll tell you. It’s because God never sees just what we give, but also what we keep for ourselves. So in a real sense only God knows what is generous and what is not. If a man gives £10 million to a cause, and everyone says “Wow, what generosity”, God might see that the man will still struggle along on the £50 million he still has in the bank and investments.
See the clearest example of how God sees our giving is in this incident. 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.But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.
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.They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”
Mark 12: 41-44
Lord, help me to be honest as I ask how much of my giving can I so easily afford and never even miss?
Now read II Samuel 23: 13-17.