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Giving as God would have it

“Superman” was popular in my neighborhood in the 1960s. His two most amazing abilities were his x-ray vision and flight. We thought it must be amazing to be able to see inside buildings like Superman could.

There was a real person who lived who could see inside a person’s mind. It was Jesus Christ. In John 1:48, Jesus looked into Nathaniel’s mind and told him he was able to see him although they were separated by some distance.

Jesus, God the son, showed this ability in other places. Near the end of his life on earth, Jesus sat watching the rich contributing their gifts in the temple.

Dr. Luke wrote that the rich were giving from their “surplus” (Luke 21:4). They were reaching into their money bags and scooping out large amounts of money to place into the treasury trumpets. They weren’t giving sacrificially at all. How do we know? Jesus was able to see inside their minds.

There was a widow who was also in the Court of the Women at the Temple bringing her gift. She only gave two lepta, the smallest denomination of coin the Jews had, but, it was all she had.

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on” (Mark 12:43-44).

God is not interested in giving that involves no sacrifice. Sacrifice hurts. Sacrifice costs something. When we study the death of Jesus on the cross, can we see his depth of love for us? Can we understand the pain he bore, the sacrifice of his body for our sins?

It was easy for Jesus to look into the minds of the rich as they dipped into their prodigious wealth for a few coins and tell they had no idea what true sacrificial giving involved. The widow did, and Jesus was able to look into her mind and see the sacrificial love she had for God.

To the rich, giving at the Temple was a duty. To the widow, it was a part of her heart of rich love toward God.

The great preacher, H. Leo Boles, wrote, “Hers was real self-denial; she felt what she gave; in love she devoted all to God, and trusted in his providential care.”

Our giving must be like hers. It must be from a heart filled with love for God and a desire to truly worship him.

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John Henson

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, John Henson has been a husband for 40 years and a preacher for about half that. He currently serves as the preacher for the Dibrell Church of Christ in McMinnville, Tennessee..

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