Monday 4 July 2011

Spare change

It is very tempting when raising money to focus on the rich.

The story is told of a wealthy family who donated their old furniture to the church office. Their motives were sincere and the furniture was in good condition. The pastor thanked them for their kindness, but gently refused the offer. Why? Not because there was anything wrong with the chairs and tables. But because their giving was not what the bible means by Christian giving.

When we ask the rich for money it is tempting to do so, not simply because of their wealth, but because it is easier to ask for spare change from a rich man. “It won’t cost you much,” we say. “It won’t affect your lifestyle or your income. It won’t even make a difference to the way you live.”

The gospel of Luke tells of a time when Jesus was at the temple and the rich were pouring in their money into the treasury. Jesus then saw a widow put in two coins. Luke adds the words “very small” coins. In other words, it was hardly substantial. It was a nothing. Yet Jesus told his disciples, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all the others.” How could that be?

All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.
Luke 21:4

Christian giving is sacrificial giving. We looked at this yesterday in our Sunday passage from 1 Corinthians 16. Just because you are a student with loans; just because you have financial struggles; just because there are so many other wealthier, more successful people in the church compared to you - does not mean that this message on giving does not apply to you or your circumstance.

Because maybe - just maybe - you understand better what God is telling you about sacrificial giving, compared to your richer brothers and sisters. Maybe your circumstance is making it possible for you look to Jesus and to see clearly what he did on the cross when he took all your sins and paid all your debts through his sacrifice. The bible says that though he was rich, Jesus Christ became poor for your sakes, so that through his poverty you might receive the full riches of His grace.

Christian giving is a response to God’s love shown us on the cross. Christian giving is an expression of trust in Jesus Christ and his sacrifice.

I'll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross
I'll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross

Here I am to worship,
Here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You're my God
You're altogether lovely
All together worthy,
All together wonderful to me.

(“Here I am to worship” by Chris Tomlin)

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