From Generous to Faithful (Thirty-second Ordinary)

Sitting across from the offering box, Jesus was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions. One poor widow came up and put in two small coins – a measly two cents. Jesus called his disciples over and said, “The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford – she gave her all”.   (Mark 12: 41 – 44)

When Terry was a kid growing up, his parents used to always put two dollars in the collection basket at church. So when he started working, he followed their example and did the same every Sunday.

But being a thoughtful man, Terry realised in time that two bucks just didn’t cut it, so he started giving five. After a promotion at work and a raise in pay, he began to put in ten. It gave him a good feeling to know that he was being generous.

Then one day he got into a discussion about church with Ned, his co-worker at the office. He was astonished to learn that Ned, a Baptist, gave 10 times what Terry gave. “You put in a hundred dollars every week?” he asked. “Why, that’s over 5,000 dollars a year!” What really amazed Terry as that Ned got paid the same as he did and had a bigger family to boot.

“Yeah, but that’s not even 10 percent of my income,” replied his friend. “I’m short of a tithe, so I need to jack it up a little”.

“What’s a tithe?” Terry asked.

Ned replied, “The word means ‘a tenth part’. It’s what the Bible says we need to give back to God as a sacrificial offering. I’m not being generous,” he added. “I’m just being faithful”.

It dawned on Terry that what he was hearing was the same thing the scriptures at church had been talking about. It was time for him to rethink this whole giving deal.