Where your treasure is. . .
Jesus now moved over to the treasury at the temple grounds to view people putting in their tithes (which were pretty much mandatory back then) and their offerings. (A tithe is 10% of all you make, which goes to where you worship. An offering is anything you give beyond your tithe.) Jesus and his followers watched as the people put their money in the treasury. They saw some rich people putting in huge sums. Then along came a poor woman who put in two pennies. Jesus, knowing this woman as He knows all people, told the multitude that this woman gave more than all the rest! How can this be?
This woman had given more than all the rest because while the rich gave out of their excess, she gave all she owned out of her poverty and Jesus knew it.
The concept in this section of scripture is both easy and difficult at the same time. God asks us to give back to Him a portion of what He has already given us (which is everything). This should be a joyous event for us. Giving back some money shows our thankfulness. Those who do are blessed. But this woman gave back all she had. I know, 10% of .02¢ is about the same as .02¢, but the point of the illustration is that in giving all she owned, she became totally dependent on God for her very life. That’s beyond obedience — that’s faith!
God is not impressed by how much wealth we can give to the church. The rich will win that kind of race most of the time. We could say that tithing is all about percentages of our earnings, which is closer to the truth from an obedience/tithe perspective, but tithing is really about the condition of our heart when we give. Whether we give a little or a lot, how joyfully we give determines the acceptability of the gift. If we give in joy and obedience (for God does call us to give), then we are storing up treasures in heaven. That’s where our treasure should lie.
My friend Lori told me a joke the other day that somewhat fits this situation: A rich man knew he was about to die. Fortunately, he knew Christ, but he still couldn’t part with all his wealth. After some haggling, Jesus agreed that the rich man could bring one suitcase with him to heaven. The man packed it full of gold and jewels. Not long after, the man died. When he got to heaven, Peter, who knew about the agreement, asked the man to open the suitcase. Upon seeing the contents, Peter said to the man: “I know of your agreement — that you were allowed to pack some worldly possessions in your suitcase, but why did you bring pavement?”
God has so much more for us than gold and jewels. He wants our heart. Where are you storing your treasures?