Pretend for a moment that you are a financial counselor. You have been asked to give advice and insight to an elderly woman whose husband passed away several years ago.
In the course of your meeting, you learn that this lady is down to her last two dollars. She has no money, no more assets of any kind. In fact, she has no food. Her pantry is empty, and the two dollars are all she has to live on. She tells you that she believes the Lord would have her put the entire two dollars in the offering at church. What would you tell her?
I’d probably suggest that she consider her own needs first. After all, God knows her plight and that she has to eat. And after all, God knows her heart and the fact that she truly wants to give. Surely God would want her to use common sense, logic and reason to realize that she needs to spend the two dollars on food for herself.
Good answer, right? Wrong. At least it was not what Jesus concluded when He observed a widow putting the only two copper coins she owned in the treasury at the temple. Instead of telling her that she should have spent her meager resources on herself, He commended her by saying, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything — all she had to live on” (Mark 12:41-44).
Randy Alcorn observed,
“Jesus regarded the woman as wise. He set her up as an example in the Word of God that all believers in future generations might emulate her faith, commitment and sacrificial generosity. . . .By our standards, both outside and inside the church, the widow’s actions seem unwise. . . .But God, who knows the heart . . . and sees through the eyes of eternity, elevates the poor woman as eternally wise. . . .If this surprising evaluation does nothing else, it should certainly capture our attention, for it shows that our standards of wisdom are not only radically different from God’s, but diametrically opposed to them.”
As you consider the use of the “Effective Stewardship” program in your church, please realize (if you have not already done so) that some of the instruction may be somewhat new to your congregation. Realize as well, though, that the truth of God’s Word — old or new — is what is needed to bring about a change in lifestyle and financial management.