Worldly Giving and Godly Giving - Radical

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Worldly Giving and Godly Giving

How much thought do you give to the offering when your church gathers each Sunday? Is it a significant part of your worship, or is it merely a routine that you go through? In Mark 12:41–44, Jesus uses the seemingly insignificant—yet sacrificial—gift of a poor widow to challenge many of our practices and assumptions about giving and money. By God’s grace, our approach to giving can change when we realize that God already owns everything, including our money, and that giving to him is a privilege that should be motivated by his grace in the Gospel. In this message, David Platt contrasts worldly giving with godly giving.

All right, on to our text today. As I’m speaking here at Tysons right now, we’re taking up an offering in this room. Different locations do this at different times. It’s a pretty routine part of our worship, one that—if we’re not careful—we can hardly notice. As someone passes something to us, we just kind of pass it on to the next person, almost mindlessly.

Some of us don’t think even about it because we don’t really give much at all. Maybe we throw in some money here or there, or maybe not at all. Others of us kind of mindlessly pass it along because we give in other ways, at other times. Maybe we have direct deposit set up or some other automatic means of giving. So it’s not actually something we do when we’re gathered together for worship. Regardless, if we’re not careful, we can hardly think about giving in our lives or in our worship. 

I want to show you today that this is not good for us and it’s not glorifying to God. We’re about to look at a passage where Jesus watches people giving. He watches what they give and how they give. If nothing else, this passage is going to show us that Jesus is watching what we give and how we give. He’s watching us, not like a heavenly policeman who’s making sure we do things right. He’s watching us because he loves us and wants the best for us. 

We saw last fall, when we walked through “12 Traits of a Biblical Church,” that God has actually designed our hearts to be glad in giving, not in getting. We saw how, for followers of Jesus, intentional, generous, cheerful, sacrificial giving is life-giving, and we’re missing out on life if we’re not giving like that. Let’s just be honest with each other. This goes totally against the grain of the way we think in this world. 

So what I want to do today is show us in Mark 12 a contrast between what I’ll call “worldly giving” and “godly giving.” In other words, there are ways to give that align with the ways of this world, and there’s a way to give that aligns with the Word of God. I want to encourage you to ask the question, “Which one of these marks my life?”

I should just add, for those of you who are visiting with us today or exploring Christianity, we are really, genuinely, sincerely glad that you are here. I fully realize that one of the reasons people often have a negative view of the church is because some people think, “All they talk about is giving.” Today is not going to be helpful for that conception in your mind. You might walk away saying, “I knew it!” You’re thinking it right now. “It’s true. I knew it. This just proves it.” Before you draw that conclusion, I want to ask you to hang with me. I want to show you that this text is not ultimately about giving. It’s ultimately about Jesus and how he changes our lives for our good—from the inside out—in a way that leads us to live, love and give in ways that are totally different from this world. We hope—and I have prayed specifically for you—that God would use this time in his Word to show you, maybe for the first time, the depth of his love for you in a way that is life-changing, in a way that turns everything upside down and frees you from what this world says is best for you. I want us to consider what you might think is best for you, then what God says and what God thinks—the God who made you, the God who knows what is best for you and loves you. 

So let’s start by hearing directly from his Word. We’ll begin by reading the last part of what we read last week, in Mark 12:38. God’s Word says:

38 And in his teaching [Jesus] said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces 39 and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 40 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

You see the contrast, right? It’s pretty obvious, between these scribes in verse 38, the leaders in the religious life of God’s people, the overseers of this religious system, and the “many rich people” who gave large sums of money to the treasury. So you’ve got this picture. Then you have a poor widow, who put in two small copper coins, basically the smallest amount of money anybody could give—a penny. Yet Jesus is watching all of this and says, “Truly I say to you, this poor woman has put in more than everybody else who’s giving here.” 

In other words, Jesus saw something that nobody else saw, which means there’s a different way to think about giving than the way the world thinks about giving. And not just the world out there, but the religious world. I think we’re about to see part of what we need to see, which is how worldly giving creeps into and often characterizes our giving, even in the church. 

Let’s think about the contrasts here. There are five of them.

1. Worldly giving is motivated by pride. Godly giving is motivated by humility.

The picture of these scribes in verses 38-40 is clearly a picture of pride. Their motive in practicing religion was their own pride. So is it possible in our giving for our motive to actually be pride? I think there are many ways that’s possible. Think about it. 

One, we can give to things in this world that exalt ourselves over God. Think about the earliest example of this in the Bible—the tower of Babel. Can you imagine the fundraising campaign for that? “Give your bricks and mortar. We’re going to build a monument to ourselves.” People gave generously and sacrificially, then the tower was built. Thousands of years later, today, there are all sorts of people, institutions and organizations that you can give to that have as their aim the exaltation of all we can do, with no regard for God—maybe even with active disregard for God. Surely that’s pride. 

Then think about the part pride can play even in giving to the church or to Christian ministries. These scribes were proud of their robes and long prayers. Many rich people were proud of the large sums they could give. Even if they didn’t say it to others, they could easily think to themselves, “Look at all I’m giving. God must be glad that I’m a giver.” This led to pride in how they gave when the reality was the only reason they were able to give was because of the grace of God in their lives. The same is true for each of us. It’s not like ultimately we earn money for ourselves, then decide if we’re going to give it to God. No. That’s prideful at the core. Humility realizes it already belongs to God

We read this in Psalm 89:11 this week: “The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it.” Humility says, “All that’s in the world belongs to God, including my money. The only reason I have it is because he’s given it to me. All my money comes from God—it all belongs to God—and the only reason I have it is because he’s been generous to me.” 

As soon as I say that, some people immediately think, “Wait a minute. I work hard for my money. I spent years getting education and experience for my job. I get up early every morning. I work hard all day.” I don’t doubt that for a second, but let me ask you a question. Where do you get the energy to work hard? Who gives you breath every morning when you wake up? Who gave you a mind to learn and grow and think? Who gives you the ability to process and make business decisions all day? Who gives you a body to work, a mouth to speak, ears to hear, eyes to see?

It is sinful pride and utter foolishness to think you are ultimately behind all you have. Everything good you have is evidence of the grace of God toward you. It is not a coincidence that our church’s Bible reading this morning included Deuteronomy 8:17-18 where we read these words: “Beware, lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth.” God is speaking that over us today in an unmistakable way. Put this together. This is why pride has no place in godly giving. Our giving, in and of itself, is a picture of his grace. 

I’ve used this illustration before of times when my children have given gifts to me for my birthday, Father’s Day or Christmas, using my money to buy the gift. So did they actually give me a gift? Well, yes. They’re sitting over here thinking it genuinely came from their hearts. But no, it came from my wallet. And so it is with us. Everything good we have comes from God, so why would any of us, even in our own minds, want any credit for giving money, when our money ultimately belongs to God and comes from God? 

Let’s keep going; don’t miss this. In our pride, we can actually start to convince ourselves that God needs us to give to him. In our pride, we can actually take the God upon whom we are totally dependent for everything we have, and convince ourselves that he is dependent on us. Many Christian appeals for giving are based on this, almost making God out to be like a beggar. Oh, man, woman, brother, sister in Christ, don’t be deceived. God does not need you. We don’t give because God needs our help. He’s the almighty. We give out of the overflow of God’s help for us. 

While we’re here, there’s one more subtle way that pride creeps into our giving. I think about the way Christians sometimes talk about giving, even pastors appeals for giving. “Look at all Jesus has done for you. The least you can do is give to him. You owe him that.” I want to encourage you to never think like that. Here’s why, Christian. You don’t owe Jesus anything. You don’t owe Jesus your money, your time or anything else.

The Christian life is not about Jesus giving his life for you, then you paying him back with your money or whatever else. No. That actually misses the whole point of Christianity and the Gospel. As soon as you try to pay Jesus back for all he has done for you, you are undercutting the very foundation of grace that saved you in the first place. It’s not grace if you pay it back.

Jesus doesn’t call us to pay him back. That’s the whole point of grace! We can’t pay back Jesus for what he’s done for us. Jesus is not a businessman looking to do a business deal with us. This is so important: in so many Christians’ lives, we’ve conditioned ourselves to think about all that Jesus did for us in the past on the cross, so what can we do for him now? We get into this sick religious mode of thinking that our church attendance, Bible reading, praying or giving are somehow going to pay Jesus like we pay our mortgage every month. It misses the whole point to think that in light of all Jesus has given for us, now we give to him. It misses the whole point because the reality is Jesus has not stopped giving to us. 

Christian, Jesus didn’t just give his life for you in the past; he’s giving you life right now. Every good thing in your life at this moment is because Jesus, by his grace, is giving it to you. There is nothing good in you apart from the grace of God through Jesus. This means anything good you do today is the work of Jesus in you today. 

You want to know why Jesus is not a businessman looking to do a business deal with you? Because you don’t have anything to offer. The only thing you bring to the table is your sin. Everything good you have comes from him. So put aside all the pride, even the subtle pride in your life and in your giving, then live and give out of the overflow of humility before God. Isn’t that the picture we see in this widow? A poor widow, humbly walking up, knowing that even the penny she has is a picture of God’s grace in her life. She gives it humbly. 

You’ve got to get the picture here. The scene is the temple treasury, the temple court, where there were 13 shofar chests—trumpet-like receptacles—that were set out for people to drop their offerings into. People would walk up with their offerings and every coin they dropped could be heard. The more you gave, the more noise you made. The more noise you made, the more attention you drew to yourself.

2. Worldly giving wants to be seen. Godly giving wants to be behind the scenes.

In contrast to these scribes and many rich people, this poor widow doesn’t even know Jesus is watching her. She doesn’t want anyone to watch her. She just wants to give and get out of there. That’s how Jesus teaches us to give. Don’t give to be seen, recognized, rewarded by others. 

Think about how we can miss this one, especially in a day when churches and Christian ministries actually work against this. So often churches and Christian ministries go out of their way to give extra honor to people who give the most. We name buildings or initiatives after them. We give plaques or create memorials to honor them. But Jesus has specifically warned us in Matthew 6, “When you give, don’t make any noise about it. That’s what hypocrites do. They like the praise of men. They’re living for praise in this world. Not you. When you give, do it in secret so your left hand doesn’t even know what your right hand is doing.” 

Worldly giving wants to be seen. Giving that glorifies God is content with God alone seeing the giving, while you stay behind the scenes. Which leads to a third contrast here.

3. Worldly giving desires power over others. Godly giving demonstrates trust in God.

Jump to the end of this passage and you’ll see this phrase. This poor widow “put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” This is a tough one to think about. Let’s play the role of this woman’s financial counselor for a minute. Imagine her husband died years ago, she comes to you and says, “I’m down to my last two dollars. I have nothing else. This is all I have to live on, but I believe God wants me to put it in the offering. What do you think?” How would we respond? What would we tell her? 

I think we’d probably say, “Well, that is really generous of you. It says so much about your heart. But God also gives us wisdom and common sense. God knows your heart and that you want to give, but he also tells you to take care of yourself. So I’m sure God would have you keep these coins and buy food for tomorrow. He wants to meet your needs. Where is God going to provide you food from? He’s not just going to send it down from heaven. God wants you to be wise. Feed yourself.”

I think that’s what we would say, even based on some other biblical principles. But Jesus didn’t question her wisdom at all. Instead, he gave her an unqualified commendation. In fact, he set her up as a model for our giving. Why? Because godly giving demonstrates trust in God. 

The contrast here is worldly giving that desires power over others. Do you remember what Jesus said about these scribes right before this? They “devour widow’s houses” (verse 40). We mentioned last week that we’re not sure exactly what that means practically, but clearly it wasn’t good. This is a major part of this story that we cannot miss. Jesus is giving a stinging rebuke to a religious system that was supposed to care for widows, but was leaving them in poverty. God says throughout his Word to care for widows, orphans and sojourners. Instead of God’s people in the temple giving, then using that which was given for the sake of widows, orphans, sojourners, women like this poor widow were being ignored. She was down to no money to her name. 

So church, let us make sure that in our giving, we are prioritizing what God says to prioritize: care for those in need, for widows in need of support, for children in need of homes, for refugees in need of help. The list goes on, including people in our city and around the world with urgent spiritual and physical needs. 

As a side note, when it comes to worldly giving that desires power over others, I can’t help but think about the dangerous tendency to actually give power to the people who give most, especially in the church. I’ve seen people give large sums in the church, then expect power. If or when they don’t get that power, they threaten to take their gifts elsewhere. So be it. Political lust for power has no place in the church of Jesus Christ, especially if it’s tied to money.

God specifically and sternly warns in James 2 about giving any preferential treatment to the wealthy. Acts 8:20 makes it clear that you cannot buy spiritual power with material wealth. Worldly giving desires power over others. Godly giving demonstrates trust in God which then leads to the fourth contrast.

4. Worldly giving is comfortable and convenient. Godly giving is sacrificial and costly.

 Just think about the contrast here. Rich people were giving large sums that did not involve sacrifice, that were comfortable and convenient. Jesus says, “This woman put in more than all of them.” Why? Because they had contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in everything she had—all she had to live on. This poor widow in actual amount gave far less than everyone else, but in proportion to what she had, she gave far more. 

This is not how we normally think about our giving or other people’s giving. We think the bigger the better. We see someone give a big amount and think, “Oh, that’s particularly generous, maybe even sacrificial.” We give less and think, “Ah, I’m not able to do as much as others.” The reality is one person can give $25 in an act of great sacrifice, while another person can give a million dollars and not sacrifice at all. If someone makes ten million dollars a year, gives away nine million and spends a mere million on themselves, we may be impressed. But is this giving like God calls us to give? There’s a significant difference between comfortable giving and sacrificial giving. God calls us to do the latter. It says this throughout the Bible. Think 2 Corinthians 8 where God is talking about the impoverished churches in Macedonia. When they heard that the church in Jerusalem was in the middle of famine, they gave generously. It says this in 2 Corinthians 8:3-5: “They gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.” 

What a picture! They gave themselves first and foremost to the Lord which led them to give beyond their means, in a way that was hard to give. They didn’t do it begrudgingly. Did you see this? They did it of their own accord. They weren’t forced to do that. They were “begging us earnestly” for the privilege of giving to the starving saints in Jerusalem. This is Christian giving. This is the supernatural overflow of a life surrendered to the Lord. 

So is your giving, is my giving, comfortable and convenient, or sacrificial and costly? Maybe another way to put it would be, based on that language in 2 Corinthians 8, are you giving less than your ability, according to your ability or beyond your ability? 

  • Less than your ability means that you could easily give more. 
  • According to your ability means giving in a way that’s truly commensurate with what God has given you, proportionate to what God has given you. 
  • Then beyond your ability means giving to the point of sacrifice, which certainly seems to be what God is calling us to in Mark 12, 2 Corinthians 8 and a host of other places. 

So what should this look like in our lives? I’ve always appreciated what C.S. Lewis said: 

     I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I’m afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc. is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.

What would it look like if you decided to leave behind comfortable and convenient giving for sacrificial and costly giving? Not because you have to, but because you want to—again as the overflow of God’s grace in you, toward you, through you. This is why right after the passage where we read about these Macedonians in 2 Corinthians 8, we see in verse nine, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” 

This is why I said in the beginning to those of you who may be visiting with us or exploring Christianity, this is what giving is ultimately about. It’s ultimately about Jesus Christ. Giving like this is the overflow of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, who, though he was rich, for our sake he became poor. What does that mean? This is the greatest news in all the world. God has come to us. He left his throne in glory. He came to us in the person of Jesus. He became poor. He became like us. He lived among us. Then he died for us. He was killed by us. Why? He came to save us from our sins, from all the ways we have turned from God and his ways to ourselves and our own ways. God has come to us in the person of Jesus. He’s paid the price for our sins. Why? So that you, by his power, might become rich.

You might say, “Does that mean through Jesus I can have a lot of money?” No. You can have something so much better than all the money in this world. You can have your sins totally forgiven and you can be restored to relationship with God for eternal life for the next ten trillion years and beyond. That’s what it means to be rich. 

So we invite you, if you’ve never received the grace of Jesus in your life, to do so today. Hear God speaking to your heart right now, by his Spirit, saying to you that he loves you so much that he’s brought you here to hear this news: God loves you. The God who made you loves you. He’s made a way for you to be forgiven of all your sin and restored to relationship with him, to experience eternal life now and forever with him. We invite you to put your faith in Jesus.

When you do, and for all who have, you now have a new heart that wants to give your all to God. You will give generously and sacrificially. In a weird way, you’ll even do it cheerfully. Again, this is not because you’re paying Jesus back, but because Jesus is now your life. You’ll live and give to spread this good news of God’s love to the ends of the earth. 

I think about an email I received one time from a friend of mine who was living among the unreached in the world—people who have never heard the Gospel. He wrote:

 How many people have not believed because they have not heard? What will it take for those people to hear? Have they not heard because there’s no one to tell them? What can we do in obedience to God to change a world in which there are billions of people who cannot call on the name of the Lord because they haven’t believed, who haven’t believed because there’s no one to tell them. 

Most of us would say we know the answer to that question, but the truth is there will continue to be billions of people who do not hear as long as we continue to not use spare time and spare money to reach them. These are two radically different questions: what can we spare and what will it take? 

I think those are good questions. What would happen if we stop asking how much we could spare to spread the Gospel in the world and start asking how much it is going to take? Obviously, we don’t assume that any one of us can single-handedly give enough to make that happen. But I can’t help but wonder, what if God actually wanted to reach the world with the good news of his love in Jesus? What might we expect him to put in the hands of his church? Maybe unprecedented wealth in the history of the world?

God has given to us—to the church—all the wealth that is needed to reach all the nations with the Gospel right now. The question is: are we going to coast through Christian living marked by worldly giving that is comfortable and convenient, or are we going to leave behind the ways of this world and give our lives to godly giving that is sacrificial and costly?

5. Worldly giving bears fruit for a while. Godly giving bears fruit forever.

Obviously, there are many people and places in the world that will ask you and me to give to things that will last for a time, even good things. But what does it look like to give to that which will last forever? May it not be lost on us today that we’re sitting here 2,000 years after this scene in Mark 12, we’re talking about two small copper coins—a penny—that a poor widow put in a coffer. This makes me think about a story to come in a few weeks where another woman who has more breaks an expensive alabaster flask and anoints Jesus with it. Just to give you a preview, Jesus says in Mark 14:9, “Truly I say to you,” —the same words he used to preface what he said about the widow in Mark 12—“wherever the Gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

These two women in Mark 12 and 14 are powerful pictures of what God does through godly giving—small amounts, large amounts. He uses godly gifts to resound to his glory and to the good of many others in the world and to the good of the giver, in ways far beyond what we can fathom. Why would we settle for anything less than that? Don’t you want your life to bear fruit that lasts? Don’t you want your life to count in a way that resounds to God’s glory and the good of many others—and to your own good forever? That sounds like a wise investment. 

So don’t settle any more for worldly giving, nor even supposedly Christian versions of worldly giving. Give in the way God has designed you to give, trusting God to take your giving and bring about fruit that doesn’t fade this year, next year, ten years from now, a hundred years from now. Trust God to take your giving and bring about fruit that will still be there ten trillion years from now. Lift your eyes. This is the kind of life, this is the kind of giving you are made for.  

I want to invite you to take a moment and reflect on all of this in your life before God. I’m going to put these five contrasts up on the screen and invite you to consider how God is calling you to leave behind worldly giving and experience godly giving. In what ways specifically is God, by his Spirit right now, calling you to respond to what we’ve seen in his Word today? 

Let’s spend a moment praying and reflecting along these lines, then I will lead us in prayer after that. 

God, we pray for a spirit of humility right now to hear from you and how you are leading each of us to leave behind worldly giving and experience the life you’ve called us to in godly giving. Speak to us right now, we pray. Help us hear and obey.

God, by the power of your Word and your Spirit, we pray that you would transform the way we think about giving. We need you to transform our desires. We want to give in the way we’ve just seen in your Word. We pray that you would transform our actions, that by your grace you would help us follow through on what you’re saying to us right now. God, we want our lives to be marked by godly giving, to reflect what you commended in this poor widow, especially in a culture where we have so much in this world. God, we pray that you would transform our hearts and lives to reflect this countercultural way of living and giving.

As we pray, I would ask have you put your faith in Jesus, in God’s love for you? Have you been restored to relationship with God through what he has done for you? He’s speaking to your heart right now. If the answer to that question is not a resounding yes in your heart, then I invite you to pray this, just between you and God:

“God, I want to be restored to relationship with you. I am coming to you. I know I’ve sinned against you. I’ve turned from your ways to my own ways. But I believe Jesus died on the cross to forgive my sins, to pay the price for my sins. Then he rose from the dead in victory over sin and the grave. Today I trust in Jesus as the Redeemer of my sins and the Lord of my life. I want to experience life the way you’ve created me to live. I want to leave behind my ways and the ways of this world. I want to live according to your ways and your life in me.”

When you say that to God by faith in his grace, it’s not about anything you do. This is part of the good news. It’s by trusting in his love for you that God says, “I forgive you of all your sin and restore you to a relationship with me that lasts forever.” 

God, we praise you for the Gospel. We praise you for this good news. We praise you for how people in this room and watching online are placing their faith in you for the first time. We pray that they will realize the riches that have just taken place, that they have experienced now and will experience forever in relationship with you.

God, I pray for them and for all of us who have these riches in you. Help us, we pray, to live out what you have spoken to us today. It’s by your grace in us, we pray in Jesus’ name. And all God’s people who agree with that prayer, say, “Amen.”

What does the passage say?

1) Read Mark 12:41-44 aloud as a group. Take time to let group members share observations about the passage. Try not to move into interpretation of the passage or application of what you have read quite yet. Simply share what you all observe from the text.

a.  What were some differences between the ‘givers’ in this passage? For example, compare—

  • The quantity of them (vv. 41-42)
  • The gifts they gave (vv. 41-42)
  • The reserves from which they drew (v. 44)
  • The extent of their offerings (v. 44)
  • The personal sacrifice reflected in their offerings (v. 44)
  • Jesus’ assessment of their offerings (vv. 43-44)

2) How would you explain or summarize today’s passage in your own words?

What does the passage mean?

1) Read 2 Corinthians 8:9 and Philippians 2:4-11. Beyond the non-financial and financial gifts of ‘time, talent and treasure,’ what did Jesus give to enrich others? Why did He do it?

2) Read 1 Thessalonians 2:4-8. What did Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:1) give to enrich others (including, but not limited to, the Thessalonians)? Why did they do it (1 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 6-8)?

3) Reread Mark 12:44. In giving everything she had to live on, what else did the widow give? What did she yield?

4) Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, especially verses 1 and 5. What (or Who) was the Source of the giving that took place among the churches of Macedonia?

How can we apply this passage to our lives?

1) For a Godly giver, what (or Who) is the Source of their giving? What is the orientation and posture of their life and heart?

2) What might it look like for you to leave behind giving (of all kinds, not just financial) that is comfortable and convenient, and start giving in ways that are sacrificial and costly?

3) How is God calling you to leave behind worldly giving and experience godly giving? In what specific ways is God calling you to respond to His Word?

Mark 12:41-44

The Widow’s Offering

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

There is a way of giving that reflects the ways of this world, and a way that reflects the Spirit and work of God.

  • Worldly giving is motivated by pride. Godly giving is motivated by humility.
  • Worldly giving wants to be seen. Godly giving wants to be behind the scenes.
  • Worldly giving desires power over others. Godly giving demonstrates trust in God.
  • Worldly giving is comfortable and convenient. Godly giving is sacrificial and costly.
  • Worldly giving bears fruit for a while. Godly giving bears fruit forever.
David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


That means that the people with the most urgent spiritual and physical needs on the planet are receiving the least amount of support. Together we can change that!