The true value of a gift is not in its price tag; it is in the cost to the giver. If your child saves part of his or her allowance to buy you a special birthday gift, would you not treasure that more than a gift given out of abundance?
We too often place value in things that on the surface may seem expensive or rare, yet they are superficial when we closely examine them. Even in the gift described above, the value is not in the gift itself but in the sacrifice of your child. Jesus explains it this way:
“And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, ‘Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.'” (Luke 21:1-4)
There are times out of false piety that we might rebuke a gift giver for wasting their money on an extravagant gift when it could have been used for a charitable cause. The scoffer is again looking at the surface because he or she is prideful in their attempt to seem holy. Such was the case with Judas Iscariot:
“Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, ‘Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’” (John 12:3-5)
Scripture tells us that Judas was not only a betrayer, but he was also a thief. He was upset with Mary because he saw money that he could pilfer being poured out on Jesus’ feet. Jesus knew the value of Mary’s gift because she had “kept (it) for the day of My burial.”
When we serve the Lord with our time and money, He will always abundantly bless it beyond what we could imagine. When money is tight it is easy to want to hold back the tithe, but does it ever get better when we do that? I can personally testify that it does not. Tithing and generosity are not check book issues; they are heart issues.
Whenever we are obedient in our tithing and respond to our hearts to bring a love offering of some measure to meet a need, something inside of us changes. We see God work in miraculous ways that we would never experience otherwise. So it was with the widow of Zarephath when the Prophet Elijah visited her:
“So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.” (1 Kings 17:15-16)
When assessing gifts of generosity, we must use the Lord Jesus Christ’s measurement to attain the real value of a gift, and more importantly, the giver. Commenting on our passage from Luke, Warren Wiersbe writes:
“When it comes to our giving, God sees more than the portion; He also sees the proportion. Men see what is given, but God sees what is left, and by that He measures the gift and the condition of our hearts.”
If our hearts are right about the Lord’s blessings in our life, then we will obediently give what is required of us. However, we will eventually not see it as a requirement, but as a privilege to give back to Jehovah-Jireh and do so cheerfully.
We can also know that when we change our hearts about giving, it will change our hearts about gifts. We will look at our finances in a different light. We will also see that in heaven’s economy our gifts never go unnoticed or unrewarded:
“Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10)
Scripture tells us that the Lord loves a cheerful giver, and it is important to remember He doesn’t love us for what we give, but that we give.
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Copyright © 2016 David Jeffers