As a pastor, sometimes the best way to make a point is to let someone else do it for you! I heard a powerful story today that does just that.
This coming Sunday is The Big Regift – our annual Christmas offering. It is a chance for all of us to give back to God a portion of what he has already given to us, above and beyond our normal tithes. A story I heard today from a fellow OneLifer illustrates exactly what God wants us to learn from him about generosity during this season and through this offering.
A single mom stopped by the office today, totally moved by the sermon on Sunday about having the heart of God by having the heart of a giver. As she began to tell me her story, I could sense that she truly wanted to do what would please God. But there was a problem. Three weeks ago she lost her job which has left her with literally nothing to give.
As she told me that story, it reached a point in the conversation that she could have taken it one of several different directions. First, she could have made excuses about why she can’t give anything. Second, she could have not only said she has nothing to give but asked for us to give her money instead. Or third, she could have said what she did and displayed the heart of God, the heart of a giver.
“So I’ve really been praying since Sunday and it has totally moved me ever since your sermon,” she told me as she began to cry. “I’ve decided that all I have to give is a coin jar that I’ve been collecting and saving up. So I’m going to take it to the bank and whatever is in there, that’s going to be my Big Regift. I’m sorry it’s not much, but I…”
And then I stopped her.
Are you kidding me?! Not much?! She’s giving literally the last thing she has to give! That is the absolute definition of generosity on a God-sized level! And I have no doubt that she is going to experience a joy and freedom in that generosity like she’s never known before.
It reminded me of a story about Jesus noticing people’s offerings in Luke 21. The rich people were giving large sums of money, but then came a poor widow who only gave two cents. Who was Jesus more impressed by? The widow. Because she gave until it hurt, not only what was convenient to give, but literally her last two cents that she had to her name.
That is why we challenge OneLifers to give their biggest gift to Jesus this year in a way that is sacrificial and maybe even a little uncomfortable. It is why my wife and I are sacrificing giving gifts to each other and giving an extra month’s tithe to the Big Regift instead. It is why this single mom today is giving her coin collection back to God rather than using it to do something for herself. It’s why many of you will give in a way that doesn’t make sense to outsiders. Because the amount doesn’t matter. Whether you can give a little or give a lot, just give Jesus your biggest gift this year! And watch him use us as a church to make a HUGE difference in the process.
You may also give online for the Big Regift Christmas Offering at www.onelifeknox.com/give.