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You > Article Archive > Content

Sacrificial Giving

By Dr. Charles Stanley

Are you generous? Maybe you feel that giving liberally is a luxury you can’t afford. Yet the most generous financial gift mentioned in Scripture had very little monetary value. Often called “the widow’s mite,” this small gift has inspired believers through the ages to give freely. Let’s look at the message conveyed by this sacrificial gift.

Read the passage in Mark 12:41-44.

The True Measure of a Gift

Because Jesus saw the hearts of everyone, He knew these rich people weren’t committed to God (Mark 12:41). They carefully observed the external requirements of their faith, including tithing (see Luke 11:42). But their devotion to the Lord was almost non-existent. They gave to be praised by men.

  • What did Jesus say about those who give to earn people’s admiration (Matt. 6:1-4)?
  • Do you ever fall into the trap of giving primarily for the approval of others? Why do you think this is?

The widow gave “two small copper coins, which amount to a cent” (Mark 12:42). The King James version refers to them as “mites.” Although we can’t calculate their exact value in today’s money, we know these were the smallest coins used by the Jews at the time.

  • What is surprising about how Jesus viewed the widow’s contribution (Mark 12:43-44)?

This passage teaches that God considers the motive, attitude, and financial condition of the giver when determining the gift’s value.

  • What should our attitude be, according to 2 Corinthians 9:7?
  • Does this describe your emotions with regard to giving? Why or why not?

The Adam Clarke Commentary says that “the poorest person has it in his power to make his mite as acceptable to the Lord, by simplicity of intention, and purity of affection, as the millions given by the affluent.”

  • How does this fact motivate you to give generously?

The widow gave “all she had to live on” (Mark 12:44). In other words, the widow forfeited the money that would have bought food for the day. Her gift demonstrated amazing trust in God.

Imagine you lost your wallet and needed to buy gas in order to make it home. If you found a five dollar bill in your pocket, would you give it away to a street beggar, trusting God to provide a way for you to get home? Although this illustration isn’t perfect, it gives you some idea of how the widow may have felt.

  • Have you ever been completely without money for the things you needed on a particular day? How did that make you feel?

Sacrificial Financial Giving

Those who have an abundance usually spend it on themselves--better possessions, nicer vacations, or upgraded homes or cars. Or they may pay for more services and conveniences.

Those with financial shortages often resist giving to the Lord’s work or to those less fortunate. They cling to what little they have, fearing there won’t be enough if they give.

  • Do you see yourself as one who has an abundance of wealth (money and/or goods) or a shortage?

No matter which category you fall into, as a believer, you are called to be generous. Even the poor should give to the church and other people in need (Eph. 4:28). This is contrary to worldly wisdom, which says not to give if you have a shortfall. But poverty is not an excuse to hold back.

Jesus commended the widow for giving, though she had almost nothing. Each person should give in proportion to his or her income (1 Cor. 16:1-2).

  • Are you charitable toward those who are less fortunate than you? How?

  • How did the Macedonian church give (2 Cor. 8:2,3)?

  • Do you ever give sacrificially? Explain.

  • How could you arrange to give up something you want (or have) in order to help spread the gospel or provide for the material needs of another?

Matthew Henry, an eighteenth century pastor, wrote, “When we can cheerfully provide for others, out of our own necessary provision . . . and trust God to provide for us some other way, this is thank-worthy.”

Other Types of Giving

Although this study has focused on financial giving, we are called to be generous in every way—even when we feel weak and needy ourselves. We should extend things such as respect, time, expertise, comfort, material goods, and friendship. The Bible tells us that "A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Prov. 11:25 NIV).

  • What do you think are your greatest non-monetary gifts?

  • How can you use them to bless others?

Prayer: No matter what your situation, God wants you to use your resources to advance His kingdom. As you finish this study, ask Him to reveal ways you can give generously. Pray for grace to follow through on His commands, and trust Him to provide all that you need.

Note: Many Bible verses promise that God rewards those who give (2 Cor. 9:11; Prov. 11:24). But remember that not all generous Christians become rich. The Lord may repay our giving by blessing us financially, spiritually, emotionally, or in eternity (Matt. 6:19-20).

 

Related Resources

Related Video

A Financial Plan

During these difficult economic times, many people are thinking about their finances. The national debt, high gas prices, and a struggling housing market are causing people to re-evaluate their financial plans. But do their plans match those of the Lord? God’s plans are the very best, and in His Word, He has given us the wisdom we need to avoid the bondage of debt and attain His blessings. (Watch A Financial Plan.)

Copyright 2014 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

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  • April 08, 2013 01:02 PM

    by

    I have been searching and praying for an answer regarding stewartship. My mother and brother recently passed away leaving me with what I consider quite a bit of money. Am i to tithe this? Also Irecently have been able to financially help a few in dire need and wonder if this is a form of tithing. Love the messages sent by Dr. Stanley and I will continue to search for the truth. Blessings to all of you. Sincerely, Sheila
  • April 08, 2013 09:44 AM

    by

    THANK YOU FOR THIS READING. I HAVE LEARN THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO GIVE. ALSO I CAN SEE JUST HOW GREAT GOD HAS BEEN TAKING CARE OF ME. I STILL NEED WORK ON MY TITHE GIVING, BUT WITH THIS READING I AM PRAYING FOR GOD'S HELP!!! MY TRUST AND FAITH IN GOD IS IMPROVING!!!
  • April 07, 2013 11:42 PM

    by

    As a single person, this is an area that concerns me since I do want to be a cheerful and generous giver and trust the Lord implicitly for His provisions and favor of fortune. I choose to honor and worship God with my heart and completely and I cannot do that unless I'm willing to plan my financial ledger to include Him with the tithe and over and above that with my offerings. Courteously in Christ, Lois Johnson
  • April 07, 2013 11:11 PM

    by

    God has provided opportunities to be a blessing and hopefully through this clear example through the teaching about giving many will be encourage to trust god and prove him that He is faithful to bless you in return.
  • April 07, 2013 10:57 PM

    by

    Ya I hear a lot about giving. My chritian brouther tells me we still got our responsabilitys such as the bills and debts we owe
  • April 07, 2013 02:03 PM

    by

    ITS A VERY GOOD GESTURE TO HELP SOMEONE,GIVING MONEY OR FOOD OR OTHER THING,BUT IF THEY KEEP COMING BACK EVERY WEEK BECAUSE YOU DID THIS AND THEY ARE NOT CHRISTIANS AND THEY KEEP COMING BACK. I LOVE THEM AND WANT TO HELP THEM AND THEY DON'T WORK AND THEY TALK ABOUT YOU AND SAYS YOU DON'T LOVE THEM. WHAT DOES A CHRISTIAN FAMILY DO WITHOUT HURTING THERE FEELINGS. THANK YOU
  • April 07, 2013 01:03 PM

    by

    God has been very good to me. I will not be lax in my tithing again. Thank you for the Sermon today I needed reminding.
  • April 07, 2013 12:55 PM

    by

    I am so greatful for your advice GOD, through Pastor Charles Stanley.
    Watched the video A Financial Plan and it became easy to hear Your voice Father.
    Praise our Lord who still communicate with us through the Holy Spirit. Amen!
  • April 07, 2013 11:30 AM

    by

    The Orphans. When might we see a Messenger For The Orphans, and all the little ones???
    Let me know,
    Thanks,
    Roger
  • April 07, 2013 09:25 AM

    by

    i was so inspired..
  • April 07, 2013 07:23 AM

    by

    TO GIVE EVEN WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE IT TO SPARE IS TRUE FAITH IN GOD TO CARE FOR OUR NEEDS. AS A SEPARATED WOMAN IN HER 60'S THERE HAVE BEEN MANY TIMES THAT I AM SHORT ABOUT $200.00 PER MONTH MEETING MONTHLY BILLS AND THIS IS AFTER SACRIFICING TRASH PICK-UP, SATELITTE DISH, CHEAPER FOODS, SECURITY SYSTEM, AND STILL MORE MONTH THAN MONEY. i HAVE BEEN GUILTY OF BEING IN FEAR OF LOSING SOMETHING NECESSARY TO TITHE . I DO BELIEVE GOD WILL MEET MY NEEDS AND YET IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO EVEN LET GO OF MEDICAL NEEDS TO TITHE. BUT THIS ARTICLE IS TRUE TO THE CORE..THANKS FOR REMINDING ME OF WHO REALLY CAFES FOR OUR EVERYDAY NEEDS. GOD BLESS/
  • April 05, 2013 04:03 PM

    by

    What a message. Thank you sir

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