Seekers Episode 9 – How To Know How Much To Give To Charity

Seekers is a podcast focused on answering common life questions through the infinite wisdom of God’s living word – The Holy Bible.

Charity. It’s not how much you have, but what you are willing to give that makes all the difference.

There are no shortage of places that will gladly take your donation. From billboards telling us to donate our clothes to Goodwill, to public radio asking for our old car, to emails from politicians imploring us to support their campaign, to fundraising letters in the mail from causes dear to our heart, it’s easy to find a place to give. It’s even easier to make the gift with the help of credit cards and online payments. They’re even trucks that’ll show up in your driveway to pick up your donations at no charge to you.

If it’s easy to find a place to give, and easy to make the donation, then why is charity so hard for so many?

Today on Seekers we look at what the word of God says about Charity, and how we can give to please God, not just man.

Let’s pray.

God you are my creator. You are the creator of all of this. From the microphone recording this message, to the seat that I sit in, to the home that houses me, to the ground that it sits on, to the skies that it sits below, to the heavens above them. Father God you are righteous, holy, and the true judge. Lord in Your word You tell us of the judgement, Lord let this message help those listening learn what true charity is, and how to have it. For this I know God will bring You Joy, and thus it will bring us joy. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

Three quick points here, but first we must look at the story of the widow.

Mark 12:41-44

41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.

42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Walking In The Footsteps of the Needy

We see here in the book of Mark that there were several types of givers coming through the treasury that day. There were those that had wealth, and since they were not mentioned as widowed, most likely family to support them as well. Sound familiar? Many listening to this will have at least relative wealth, as in you’re doing better than most in this world, and you’ll have family to back you up if you fall on hard times.

Then there is the widow. Presumably she doesn’t have a lot of family to back her up, at least not a husband any more. The bible calls her poor, so we know she doesn’t have a lot of money. Is this something you can relate to? Are you widowed and poor? If not, the first step in charitable giving is to put yourself in her shoes.

Think about life with little to nothing and nobody. Think about how you would feel, act, live, etc. A few key lessons might emerge.

-You will have to come to terms with depending on God, since you can’t do much for yourself, and you don’t have family to bail you out. You have to learn to rely on God, and as He answers prayer after prayer, your faith is strengthened in Him.

-How you view man changes. If you’re poor even the simplest thing can look like a luxury. My wife tells a story about coming to America from a Thai refugee camp, and peering into a bakery case at the airport, begging her mom and dad to buy her a pastry. Her parents asked the baker how much, and when they saw the price printed on the menu they sadly told my wife that they didn’t have enough money in their savings to buy it for her. A pastry can be a luxury. Now imagine someone buying boxes of them with no regard, and tossing in a few bucks in a box to donate to the Red Cross. Are they really that generous?

So the dependence on God is heavy, and how or what we have as a poor person is not taken for granted, nor is man lifted up on any pedestal for what he has done, because frankly there’s so much he hasn’t.

God loves all, but I believe He has a special place in His heart for the poor. Because for them it’s easy to depend on Him, they have no choice! When I fall on hard times I am comforted by the fact that I’m as close to God then as ever, and for this reason alone it is worth putting yourself in the shoes of the poor widow.

Giving Out of Abundance vs Giving Out of Sacrifice (Sacrificial Giving)

The core principal of this scripture is not about how much you give, but how much you give relative to how much you have. Are you involved in sacrificial giving? Does it pinch to give? Are there sacrifices you’ve had to make to give to others? If not, you are missing out on one of the biggest blessings of your life.

Acts 20:35

35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

The bible doesn’t mince words. It is more blessed to give than to receive. Not give for others to see, or for some benefit to yourself, but give out of a love for the Lord, out of a love for His people, and out of a love for Jesus.

Matthew 25:40

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

We are called to care for the least of these. And not in a way that’s convenient or easy for us, like clicking “like” on Facebook or donating $5 to flood victims via text message, but messy, inconvenient, hard-to-do love. A love that makes you uncomfortable, out of sorts, and totally sold out for the Lord.

The Discipline of Giving

Sacrificial giving is not easy. Walking in the shoes of the poor, meek, and troubled is not fun. This is the mental equivalent of going to the gym each day and doing the exercise you like the least for a sustained period of time. It takes discipline.

Like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. Sacrificial giving is something that bears tremendous spiritual fruit. It’s what God has put us here to do, and when we do it God will show his approval through blessings seen and unseen.

So I challenge you to think about how you can give in a way that hurts. In a way that makes you fidget in your seat. Sit down with your family and read Mark 12, discuss the story, and talk about how as a family you can do something amazing for God. Not just once, but again, and again, and again till Jesus comes back.

Let’s pray.

God, as with so many of these episodes, all of this, love, sacrifice, humility, paying a great price, it all points back to Your son Jesus. It all points back to what He did for us that day on Mt Calvary on the cross. Thank you Father, thank you for giving us life, and thank you for allowing us to see in Your word how You’d have us give. Let us be humble servants Lord, let us please You, and do Your will. In Jesus name, amen.

 

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