The Value of a Gift
Have you ever received a gift that would mean nothing to others, but meant the world to you? This past Christmas my son gave me a brand new case for my iPhone. Now at first that may sound like a great gift. The only problem was it was blue patent leather and it was pretty girly! It actually had one of those straps like you would find on a women’s clutch (that’s a small pocketbook for those of you not into fashion…yes, I had to ask my wife). I had to cut that thing off so that I could use it. “Anthony, you actually used it?” Of course I did! My son gave it to me and it meant the world to me because he spent every dime he had on that gift. It wasn’t necessarily the gift that stole my heart, it was his sacrifice!
In Luke 21:1-4, Jesus is sitting in the temple after strenuous debates with the religious leaders of that time. You can tell He is frustrated with these conversations and then He looks up and witnesses something that really caught His attention.
While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”
Luke 21:1-4 (NLT)
He saw all of these people with tremendous means offer their gifts and it seemed as if they had given a GREAT deal! That impresses most people, but that’s not what caught the attention of the Son of God! Instead it was the sacrifice of this poor widow.
What was so special about her gift? After all, research tells me that the widow’s offering would have been nothing more than $2 in today’s economy. It may not have been a huge gift, but it was extremely valuable in the eyes of Jesus.
There are two things that determine the VALUE of a gift:
1. The SPIRIT in which it is given.
So many of us ask, “What do I have to give?” Then, our next question is, “How much of that can I afford to give?”
When we truly embrace that all we have is God’s and freely give it back to Him, then we can be used by Him in extraordinary ways! If you want to be used in extraordinary ways, you can’t be an ordinary giver. You must give with a willing spirit.
2. The SACRIFICE which it involves.
I love this definition of sacrifice: “The willingness to give up something I love for something I love (or should love) even more.”
We love our stuff don’t we? However, what we should love even more is the mission of the church, which is to build life-long followers of Jesus! I can’t find a better place in the world to invest my time, my talent and my resources!
You may think, “Her gift may have been a huge sacrifice, but what impact can such a small gift really make?” You obviously underestimate the power of something small but significant.
My wife’s grandfather gave me a lawn mower that needed some repair. He couldn’t get it started so instead of trying to fix it, he just bought a new one. So, I took that used lawn mower to my father-in-law’s house and we started tinkering. We checked everything, replaced sparkplugs, wires, etc. Finally, when we didn’t know what else to do, I had a thought. I asked, “Did we check to see if it had any gas in it? My father-in-law never said a word. He stood up, opened the cap, filled it up with gas, hit the starter and it fired right up! He turned and walked out of the barn and we’ve never spoken about it since!
It’s easy to overlook something that seems insignificant. However, it’s often the small things that are necessary to ignite a consuming fire. My prayer is that God would use your willing spirit and sacrifice to ignite a fire – one that once it’s started, cannot be contained!