November 12, 2008
And He (Jesus) 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 21:2-4
I've met that woman Jesus saw in the temple. Or at least I've met her descendants.
Although I never looked at what my members gave (something I do not claim as a virtue), I can remember the child who brought in about 57 cents -- her entire fortune -- to help with the multi-million dollar addition our church was building.
That was probably the most precious 57 cents I have ever seen.
Even so, in a new book, Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don't Give Away More Money, the claim is made Christians aren't always generous to their church.
Indeed, 22 percent don't give a penny.
The book gives all kinds of reasons why this is so:
Now, the study does say there are exceptions to the rule. Mormons give fairly generously.
Maybe that's because every year they have to meet with a local bishop who asks if they have tithed. If they haven't, there are consequences.
Well, God loves cheerful givers and that's something we all ought to be. After all, the Savior's life, death, and resurrection have freed us from our eternal enemies, as well as the making of mandatory sacrifices.
Perhaps this is why I believe the Lord's people have a desire to say, "thank You" to Him. I am convinced they will -- having seen the cross and empty tomb -- respond out of their bounty as well as out of their love for Him. It's our way of loving Him who first loved us.
At least I pray that will be the case. In fact, let's pray that now.
THE PRAYER: Dear Father, I have a Savior who gave Himself to free me from my spiritual enemies. May I, in appreciation for what He has done, respond to that love by giving what I can, in the way I can, to further His message and Kingdom. In His Name, I ask this. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries