Not As Thought

anecdotal stories

“And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. – Genesis 14:20.

And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” – Mark 12:43-44.

Generosity – God’s Gauge

Americans give so generously to nonprofit causes that foreigners gape in astonishment. The $79.8 billion given to charities in 1985 exceeded the gross domestic products of Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan combined. One hundred and eighty six individuals have given from $5 million to more than $300 million during their lifetime. Hundreds have given $5 million to $100 million over their lifetime. In 1986, real estate magnates Harry and Leona Helmsley gave $33 million to New York Hospital. People such as these are called the “most generous living Americans,” Leona’s prison sentence notwithstanding.

Didn’t Jesus say something about a different gauge to measure true generosity? Past the trumpet-mouthed boxes in the treasury the rich people moved, putting in much. Then, all alone and unnoticed, an old woman moved to put in two pennies. Jesus ignored the wealthy and their gifts while lauding her small offering. The reason was simple: the rich gave out of their excess, while she gave from her penury.

How many of the million-dollar benefactors do without any luxury, let alone any necessity, to give their millions? Make no mistake, generosity is preferable to parsimony, but Christ’s emphasis has to be appreciated. Generosity should be based as much on what we keep for ourselves as what we give to others.

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Courtesy of Speaker’s Sourcebook of New Illustrations by Virgil Hurley © 1995 by Word, Incorporated.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV © 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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