“As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘I tell the truth,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
Here we find a very short but powerful story about two kinds of givers. First we see some rich people giving and there’s no doubt it was probably a large amount. Then we find a poor widow’s act of generosity when she gave all she had in those two coins. Jesus goes on to praise this woman for holding nothing back. Unlike Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 who were struck dead for trying to lie to God, this woman listens to the Spirit and gives with a tremendous amount of faith.
What if the Holy Spirit asked you to give up everything you owned? What if you were led by the Spirit, just like the 1st century church, to sell all of your possessions and give to the poor? Could you do it? We can’t sit back all smug living our comfortable lifestyles and say, “He would never ask that of me!” But be honest. Isn’t it in God’s character to ask for everything? Doesn’t he ask for the things, the idols we have a hard time letting go of?
I would love to sit here and say that I would do it. But I know by the way I live my life that I would be tempted to hold back a little. There are earthly things, things that are not sinful that I really enjoy. I like the home I live in and the nice clothes I wear. I like the lifestyle my income can provide. But that doesn’t mean the Spirit will not lead me to forgo those things occasionally or maybe even permanently. If it serves his purposes and glorifies God, I should be willing to submit to anything…even if it means total sacrifice on my part.
Really listen to where the Spirit is leading you.
- Is He leading you to total financial sacrifice?
- Is He leading you to humiliation in the eyes of others so that God may be praised?
- Is He leading you to a different destination or career?
- Is He asking you to stay where you are but spend your life in a different way?
In the end, we cannot know where the Spirit is leading unless we are fully submitted to him. We must be like the widow in Luke 21 and act in faith. God has promised great things for us if we do!