On the outer rim of the Temple was the Court of the Gentiles and next to that was the Court of the Women. Between those courts was the Beautiful Gate which is where Jesus was sitting when he observed this woman. In the Court of the Women there were thirteen collecting boxes called 'The Trumpets' because they were so shaped. Each one was for a different purpose: one would have been to buy corn, wine or oil for sacrifice, another to give towards the expenses of running the Temple. Many people only came to the Temple once or twice a year and their giving might be quite lavish, if God had blessed them with good harvests or they felt had guided them to make good business decisions. This woman, it was plain to see, was a widow. She would be dressed in black and her attire threadbare. She flung in two mites, 'lepton'-literally meaning 'a thin one' and the smallest of all the coins. This area would have been busy with people, yet Jesus could tell that she had given all that she had. Was this a mistake, an almost suicidal decision, or was it that she trusted God completely for His provision? We don't know what happened to this woman, but we know that this nameless lady's action has resounded throughout the centuries as an example of real giving. So, how can we define it? 1. Real giving MUST be sacrificial. Real generosity gives until it hurts. Few people would do without their pleasures in order to give more to the Lord. As Delirious, my favourite Christian band sang, '100 million faces Staring at the sky Wondering if this HIV Will ever pass us by The devil stole the rain And hope trickles down the plug But still my Chinese take away Could pay for someone's drugs Our God reigns, our God reigns Forever Your Kingdom reigns.' There can be few of us Christians who can read this story without a sense of shame. 2. Real giving has a certain recklessness about it. The woman didn't even keep back one coin, enough for some food that night, she gave it all. Our financial giving reflects our sense of commitment to Jesus, it is 'where the rubber hits the road'. As we hold back from sacrificial monetary giving, we hold back from giving Christ all of ourselves. I heard a great example of giving the other day when meeting with a church leader from a different fellowship. He said that there was a time when it was struggling financially and the leaders met and discussed cutting back on the church's giving to outside missions. BUT they decided to double the amount they gave, trusting in God's provision! 3. We may feel that we have not much in the way of material things to give to God, but if we put all that we have and are at His disposal, He can do things with it and with us that are beyond our imaginings! The poor widow did not know that she was being observed by the living Christ when she gave all that she had to God!
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