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How Much?

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Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations 1818 Higher Income Means Lower Giving

Higher Income Means Lower Giving

The Russell Sage Foundation several years ago published the results of a survey. In the United States, families with a net income of less than $3,000 a year gave more than 60% of all the money donated to charity; families whose income was less than $5,000 donated 82% of the total; families with an income between $10,000 and $20,000 a year gave only 1.9% of their income!

According to an Internal Revenue Service analysis, Americans who itemize their deductions give less than 3% of their adjusted gross incomes to church and charity.

A Dollar To God

Three thousand for my brand-new car;

Five thousand for a piece of sod.

Ten thousand I paid to begin a house;

A dollar I gave to God.

A tidy sum to entertain my friends in pointless chatter.

And when the world goes crazy mad,

I ask, Lord, what’s the matter?

A dollar I gave to God.

Yet there is one big question,

For the answer I still search:

With things so bad in this old world,

What’s holding back my church?

—Author Unknown

While looking at these statistics it may seem a bit outdated but the trends continue. Even with inflation, a “spreading” of wealth, and larger salaries there is a trend in American with people relying more on money and the physical things than they do God. It is time that we again to rely soley on God and his providence and not on created things! Let us examine the text for this morning to see how much it is that we should give to the Lord.
Mark 12:41–44 NRSV
He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
Jesus after warning about the fake scribes sits in the outer portion of the Temple where the women were allowed to be and watches. In this outter portion there were thirteen containers shaped like trumpets. 13 chests total. nine were for sacrifices and four were freewill gifts for the purpose of getting wood, incense, temple decoration, and burnt-offerings. Jesus watches and calls his followers to learn from the observation of the givers.
Mark 12:41 NRSV
He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.
God is watching. Be good stewards.
Psalm 50:10–12 NRSV
For every wild animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine. “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and all that is in it is mine.
God own everything! He allows us to use what is his, so we must handle with care. God wants to see what you will give back to him. How will God see you handling what is his?
These people who had plenty that God owned put money into these containers that were not necessary for them to put in to. These containers paid for the things that were necessary for worship. They were voluntary gifts. They had already made or were going to make the necessary sacrifices and now they give “Gifts” to God.
Thank God for those who are rich that give richly to God! But there’s a lesson to be taught here by Jesus.
Mark 12:42 NRSV
A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny.
poor (generic) adj. — having little money or possessing little (of something).
goes further in the description of the widow in the Greek. destitute adjs. — poor enough to need help from others.
When looking at poverty in the dictionary we see this. WANT and DESTITUTION imply extreme poverty that threatens life itself through starvation or exposure.
Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.
This woman was in need. Had no one to care for her. Her husband was dead and could not make a living for her. Yet she gave a gift that was not necessary.
Then in examining what she put in we see more.
“…put in two small copper coins...”
Two mites in that day paid for a farmworkers wage for ten MINUTES of work. So if someone today in 2017 was making minimum wage for a value of $7.25 an hour and they worked for 10 minutes they would make $1.21. If this woman existed in this culture today, then she would only have had in her possession, to make it through the week, $1.21!! And if she were here today... I dare say that she would give it all again! No support from husband or any other source. She GAVE, she SACRIFICED.
This is about more than money. We all have been blessed with things that belong to God. Finances, people, talents, jobs, etc. How do you handle these things? We would do well to understand that we need to be sacrificial in what we give to God.
Mark 12:43 NRSV
Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.
Ἀμὴν

strong affirmation of what is declared—‘truly, indeed, it is true that.’

Jesus tells them that what he is about to say is TRUTH! This is a point to pay attention to!
Why is Jesus watching other people’s pockets? But she put in less money? Does Jesus not appreciate the massive gifts from the rich?
Mark 12:44 NRSV
For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
When the rich gave they still had plenty left over.
to be better off ⇔ abound v. — to be in a more fortunate or prosperous condition; conceived of as being amply supplied.
But the widow gave from her poverty. Her place of need. The Greek word here is BIOS. When she gave what she had to LIVE on!
I often watch children and see how they react to each other when they share things. It is easy to share something when you have a lot but when the candy or chips are running out...
livelihood n. — the financial means whereby one lives.
How much do we give to God? Does he get our leftovers? Do we give until it hurts?
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