Over that past several weeks I have been going back to the chiropractor, I’m extremely thankful. I needed and adjustment. The alignment of your spine is important. I didn’t realize that my spine could cut off the nerves to different parts of my body and keep other systems from functioning well. I needed an alignment.
The lives of Christians must align with the way of Jesus. Sometimes we need an adjustment. This is how we functionally use our values around our church. The way the choices are framed up helps position so that we can be healthy believers. One of our Values is Give Over Get.
As we have looked at Give over Get, this series has been about our character and priorities of generous living aligning with the gospel of Jesus.
There are very real barriers and habits that prevent us from living a life of holistic generosity in our relationships, how we use the gift/skills God has given us, and the perspective we have on money.
With that final word—money—right these some of you just went on the defensive. You’ve been in churches, or haven’t in the church because of this subject. I hope that if you have been journeying with us through this series that you have seen that generous living applies to more than you finances, but it does apply to your finances.
How we handle and think about money in relation to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus does communicate the condition of our hearts—because Jesus says so.
Go back and look at the last four passages we have taught from:
- Luke 12 – Where your treasure is —there your heart will be also.
- Matthew 6 – “When you give…”
- Luke 10 – The Samaritan took out two denarii and said: “Take care of this man.”
- Matthew 20 – The workers are rewarded by God’s generosity.
Money is always involved. Time is money. Or, you use a skill that you could get paid for and you volunteer for free. It needs to be stated that generosity doesn’t just take place in relationships with your time and grace. It doesn’t just take place in terms of your time in serving others and in serving in the church. It takes place in actually using money. They took an X-ray to see where I was out of alignment.
Here’s what I want us to do…write these words side by side: NOT ENOUGH – ENOUGH – EXTRA.
What you actually are and what you feel you are maybe two different things. Everyone falls within this category.
In a chapter that deals with the end times, Jesus stresses money’s importance. This text, therefore, calls us to examine our hearts in the scope of eternity. Jesus has arrived in Jerusalem. We see him sitting at the temple. Two pictures are present: the Pharisees and the widow. See Luke 20:45 – Luke 21:4.
Everything the Pharisees do reward them for their hard work and their exercise of effort and talent. Instead of seeing the abilities they have as being the faithful exercise of stewardship from God, they take personal credit for them. But if what was given to them they received from God, there is no room for boasting and self-exaltation. Especially as we look at the widow, the point of the larger story, we should not be criticized for the wealth we have, rather the posture in which we wield it. Giving out of abundance is appreciated, but it costs little.
Jesus turns to a contrastive image. That is why Jesus praises the widow here. Her attitude and action serve as an example of how believers should live. Giving to God is part of communicating our dependence on Him. This dependance is evident through the amount that is given and the heart behind the gift.
The widow gives two mites which are a fraction of a day’s wage; 1/100 of a denarius. She gave two mites, not just one. The widow might have kept one coin for herself, and no one would blame her if she did. Giving one meant giving half of all her money. The widow challenged the mindset that says, “I’ll give when I have more.” To watching the first-century world, this specific act of giving echoes back to God as the provider.
Randy Alcorn in Money, Possessions, and Eternity meditates on this scene in a convicting way. He asks us to consider what our counsel to this woman might have been if she had asked us what she should do with these last two coins. would we say something like, “The Lord knows these are your last two coins and would understand if you purchased bread instead?” Many of us would. yet Jesus commends this woman for giving her last in worship to God. Giving all she had demonstrated her surrender to God. It was an act of great faith.”
The widow had virtually nothing, yet was a giver. This means that we can all please God with our giving just as much as the richest man can please God with his giving. Whatever we give sacrificially to God, He sees it and is pleased. The widow made a spectacular contribution. God sees the amount of your gift.
Jesus sees us when we give. I want to take a step back. Jesus turns the tables of evaluation here. How does one measure giving? True giving aligns the bank account and the heart with God.
We tend to appreciate the amount of a gift, not necessarily the sacrifice that went into the giving. It’s never about the amount of $$ you give. It’s about the heart. He notices how much we give, as we see with both the Pharisees and the widow, but is far more interested in the faith and motive and heart in giving than simply the amount.
The proportional amount communicates the heart. The woman gives to God her all. The value of a gift is determined by what it costs the giver. This is what made the widow’s gift so valuable. It is not sacrifice to give to God out of your extra. The others gave out of their abundance; she gave sacrificially, out of her poverty.
Give over get has a lot less to do what’s actually in your bank account. Not Enough – Enough – Extra
This means that no one is too poor to give. God wants you to live a generous life. In one sense, this woman’s gift would not have been missed had she kept her two coins to live on. But what would have been missed was her sense of participation within the community unto God. We are about expanding God’s family.
God does not need our money. If God needed our money, then how much we give would be more important than our heart in giving.
When you give to something you begin to care about its well-being. When you give to the church, just as the woman gave in the temple, you giving is for the benefit of another not just the consumption of the services. Instead, it is our privilege to give to Him, and we need to give because it is good for us, not because it is good for God. It brings our alignment.
The woman’s generosity grows her heart toward God and others. Giving out of less means that basic things may be given up in order to honor God. One’s prioritization in giving shows where one’s emphasis lies. If you can pick up a Dutch Bros/Black Rock/Starbucks but cannot bring yourself you give.
What we give to God deserves priority. He should not receive our leftovers. As is all too common, the leftovers mysteriously shrink in size to take care of things that are not necessities.
When we give to God what is set aside from the first we limit what we use for ourselves. It develops not only a healthy recognition that our resources belong first of all to God, but it can also lead us to be more disciplined with what is left for us after we give. This startling confrontation with our finances brings about our alignment. She did not see her money as the source of her security.
What is always most vital is that we should be given over fully trusting God himself. This is what the gospel demands. The call of Christ requires us to turn away from the world, from sin, and from our own control to trust solely in him. The gospel calls us to give ourselves over to God, acknowledging that he has purchased our lives with the blood of his Son. we constantly give our lives over to Him. Cross out not enough and extra HE IS ENOUGH. When He is enough the questions about what is enough to give disappears and alignment begins.
We are about expanding God’s family at Generations Church. When we invite people to give this is what we are inviting them to give toward: Expanding God’s family because of Jesus for generations to come.
I think it would be foolish of me to talk about money without addressing how Generations Church utilizes it. We value Give over Get – You give to see the vision and values lived out in Salmon Creek.
- 10% of our tithes and offerings go to Church Planting
- Since October 2019 over 6,000 have been used to help people with rent, gas, food, clothes. We even gave way every $$ we brought in on Sundays during the month of October to four missions.
How can a new church do this? We rely on the generosity of others. Generations Church is supported by people who have given sacrificially. Yes, we need you to give. There are two ways to give for those of you who may want to give, but feel liek to you may not have the means.
- Utilizing your Fred Meyer card. You can select Generations Christian Church under Community Rewards.
- When you buy off Amazon. Shop at https://smile.amazon.com
May we live and give in such a way that reflects how generous Jesus has been toward us.