Bible Reading: Mark 12:41-44
They gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has. Mark 12:44
Esther was old enough to be a grandma, but she had never married or had children. She lived alone in a tiny house. In public she was so shy that she was often overlooked, yet she was a faithful Christian who rarely missed a service at her small church. Whenever the pastor or his wife or children had a birthday, Esther quietly presented them with a birthday card and a gift of money. The children received two or three dollars, and the pastor and his wife always found ten or twenty dollars in their cards. When the pastor’s family took a vacation, Esther always gave them another card with money tucked inside.
The pastor eventually moved to another town. Years later he learned that Esther had become ill and died. Then came some amazing news. Esther had been living on a total of $150 per month—almost nothing! One of the most generous persons in the church had barely enough to buy food and clothes. But she gave to others as if she were wealthy, just like the poor widow in Mark did.
Talk about it: Can you think of times you wanted to give but didn’t think you had enough? What does Esther’s example teach you?
The New Testament shows us a major principle about giving. You could call it the “open-hand policy,” and it’s everywhere you look. Luke says it this way, “If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more” (Luke 6:38).
There are two main points to the open-hand policy:
Give whatever you have to whoever needs it. If a friend at church is too broke to go to Bible camp, you can open your piggy bank and slide him the seven bucks you were saving. Or if a family in the community loses everything they own in a fire, you can give part of your wardrobe to a kid in the family who is your size.
Trust God to give to you when you give generously to others. “Oh, good,” you might be thinking, “I want to give more so I can get more.” That’s not exactly what Luke 6 means. When you give without thought of a payback—and especially without planning on a payback— then God will gladly surprise you by pouring his gifts and blessings into your life.
You don’t have to be rich to be an openhanded giver. It just takes practice.
TALK: How has God been generous to you? What are you doing to be an openhanded giver?
PRAY: God, help us to be as generous with others as you have been with us.
ACT: Pull out a dollar or two and ask God to show you where that money can do more good than in your pocket. Then stand back and let God amaze you at how rewarding it can be to be an openhanded giver!