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two cents

August 19, 2008

Switch is almost done with a teaching series on giving called Two Cents. Timothy kicked it off with tithes and offerings two weeks ago, and this past Friday I got to talk to the students a little more about the widow and her two mites and going beyond 10% into revolutionary giving.

Which means that about a week ago I was staring at Mark 12, waiting for something really, really good to happen. And it did. It doesn’t always (maybe I’m not always listening), but it did last week. I love that. I love getting to talk to the students about something that the Lord recently moved through me. It’s just more fun.

I even got some thoughtful facial responses from my husband and some of the older students, so I thought I’d share my little revelation with you all. Maybe this is common place and you already know this, but I think it’s cool.

Mark 12:44//”… for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” (Context)

That phrase struck me, “out of her poverty.” If I tell you that out of God’s mercy you are saved that means you’re saved because of God’s mercy. If someone tells you that out of compassion they bought a homeless man dinner, it means that a man got dinner because of their compassion.

So when Jesus says, “out of her poverty she put in all that she had,” does that mean that she put in all that she had because of her poverty? Would this same woman in a better financial situation have given out of her abundance like all the others?

I think the surface message here what I’ve heard a thousand times: What really matters is not how much you have to give, but your heart in giving. Jesus is definitely telling us that. But I think Jesus is also reemphasizing the first of the beatitudes:

Matthew 5:3//”Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

I tend to muse on virtual paper when I’m preparing a message and just type paragraphs. Sometimes I read them verbatim on Friday nights, sometimes I read pieces. Usually I just glance at it long enough to remember what I was thinking and speak it however it comes out. Last week I wrote this:

“Many of us have probably heard the sermon about giving. Even the sermon about giving above and beyond the 10%. Some of us have even decided to go for it and gotten really excited about it from the safety of somewhere away from our cash. We still don’t do it, though, because we’re not giving out of our poverty. We still think that our money matters, so it’s impossible to part with it in any sort of revolutionary way.”

Of course money does matter. You need to pay your bills, and it takes money to get the gospel out there. The specific bills that are in your wallet, or represented by the number on your bank statement, though, are not crucial.

God is not impressed by anyone’s bank account.

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