Why Generosity Has Very Little To Do With How Much We Give

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Nowadays, generosity is seen as a status symbol. The more you give, the more compassionate you seem to be; and the more compassionate you appear to be, the more you gain acceptance in society.

This stems from the wrong mindset that giving has to do with the amount given.

But in truth, generosity has very little to do with the amount we give to the poor, a friend in need, a charity, or a ministry. While the amount we give is not unimportant, there are much more important factors that come into play when we exercise the grace of giving.

The starting point of generosity is an understanding that what we give does not belong to us. This was the attitude that David had when he and the people of Israel took an offering for the construction of God's table. In 1 Chronicles 29:14, the king says, "But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you."

When we give, we give that which isn't truly ours but God's. This realisation underscores the most important aspect of giving: the humble stature of the giver's heart. When we give out of entitlement, not only do we burden the recipient but we also pollute our hearts with the thinking that what we give is ours to give.

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More than the amount we give, God looks into our heart's motive. Do we give out of cheerful expectation or out of a need for attention or affirmation? This was most evident in the way people gave offering to the temple in Jesus' time. The offering box was made of copper so that when people would drop money into it, it would make a sound. Loud clanks were seen as a source of pride while muted clanks were seen as an embarrassment.

That all changed when Jesus honoured an old widow who gave two copper coins that made—at that time—two "pitiful" clanks. Jesus saw more than just the size of her offering. He saw the magnitude of her faith and sacrifice and made sure everyone knew that, saying, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on." (Mark 12:43-44)

What do you have to give to God today? If it's a huge sum that could support charities for months but your heart isn't in the right place as you give, then there's no assurance that God is honoured by your giving. If it's the best and if it's sacrificial, then know that God is honoured no matter what that amount is.

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