“Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:1-4
Giving, specifically of our money, is an important topic among the body of Christ. And often it is one that we don’t want to talk about. Did you know the Bible has around 2,000 verses on the topic of money? That is significant. Just to list a few for your reference, take a look at these: Proverbs 3:27, Proverbs 11:25, Malachi 3:8, Matthew 6:2; Matthew 19:21, 2 Corinthians 9:7; 2 Corinthians 8:12. And the list goes on.
We know that all things belong to God including our material wealth. But do we trust him enough to give what is due? Luke 21:1-4 says, “Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
What struck me was what Jesus said about the difference in giving out of abundance and out of poverty. I have read this many times before never realizing the gravity of what the poor woman did. She gave all that she had even though she needed it. She fully trusted in the Lord for provision. Others gave only of their abundance or out of what was left over. I admit this was my mind set for a long time – giving out of my abundance. The goal was to make more so I can give more, but is that the right way to think about it? Could I give out of my poverty? Or would I tend to hold back “just in case”.
So what does this look like in reference to tithing?
In Genesis 14:17-20 we see Abraham “tithing”:
After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh that is, the King’s Valley. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
So we see the beginning of giving a tenth or “tithe”.
We read in Deuteronomy 26:10-12:
“And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O Lord, have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the Lord your God and worship before the Lord your God. And you shall rejoice in all the good that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojourner who is among you. When you have finished paying all the tithe of your produce in the third year, which is the year of tithing, giving it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your towns and be filled.”
As we see here, God is purposeful in his provision. He provides for us what we need in order to give.
This brings us back to the question: Are we giving what is due? In other word, are we giving out of our abundance (aka comfortable) or are we giving out of poverty?
Here are some tithing stats according to Relevant Magazine, article dated March 8, 2016:
- “Tithers” make up only 10-25 percent of a normal congregation.
- Only 5 percent of the U.S. tithes, with 80 percent of Americans only giving 2 percent of their income.
- Christians are only giving at 5 percent per capita, while during the Great Depression they gave at a 3.3 percent rate.
These statistics are concerning in relation to what we see in scripture. It would appear that we are not giving what is due. This is not a new problem but let’s change it, let’s be reminded of 2 Corinthians 8:1-15. The churches of Macedonia gave out of extreme poverty. They gave out of what they had and did not complain and had full joy. Let’s give and be amazed what God will do with our obedience.