READ: Luke 21

THINK: In 1944, the war-torn villages of Europe were filled with orphans. One morning an American soldier noticed a young boy staring through the window of a pastry shop. The boy hadn’t eaten in days. Each time the baker put a new batch of rolls on his counter, the boy licked his lips and groaned.

The soldier knew what he should do. He entered the bakery and returned moments later with a sack full of warm pastries. He handed the bag to the hungry child. As he turned to walk away, he felt a tug on his jacket. “Mister,” the little boy inquired, “are you God?”

In a stingy world that advocates getting as its goal, giving sets us apart. In the words of Chuck Swindoll, “We are never more like God than when we give.”

Consider the brief incident in Luke 21:1-4. With His disciples, Jesus observed the goings-on in a part of the Temple called the Court of the Women. The treasury was located here, and people were bringing gifts and offerings. Rich people were seen making sizable donations (verse 1). But it was the contribution of a poor widow that caught Jesus’ attention. She offered two very small copper coins—a mere pittance (verse 2). Yet Jesus singled out this anonymous woman for a quick lesson on generosity.

What made her gift so special, so pleasing to the Lord? First, it was done quietly. No great fanfare, just a simple act. Second, it was done willingly. At Passover season, voluntary offerings were customary. Most likely this was a free-will offering, not a tithe. Third, it was done sacrificially. The rich gave “out of their wealth” (the word used here is the same word used to describe the leftover fish and bread on those occasions when Jesus fed the multitudes). Jesus realized that the widow’s two coins were “all she had to live on” (verse 4).

God wants us to develop the quality of generosity. How much we give is not so important as that we give and that we do so with the right attitude. Perhaps the acronym G-I-V-E can help you make generosity a cherished family value in your home:

Go to God in prayer. Confess any greedy or materialistic attitudes. Thank Him for His blessings.

Invent new and creative ways to give. For example, have your family save its change each month and sponsor a hungry child from a developing nation.

Volunteer your time and resources to serve God and others. Open your home and make yourself available.

Expect God to put opportunities for generosity in your path. Open your eyes and be on the lookout.

PRAY: Ask God how you can GIVE today.

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