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Wednesday: God Takes Note of Our Offerings — 10 Comments

  1. I am going to mention one aspect of current almsgiving in the modern context that illustrates that our own mindset may not be all that different to the givers in this lesson.
    The modern-day equivalent of alms-giving are the charity support groups/shops where you can drop off unwanted goods to either be given to the needy or be sold and the proceeds used for the same purpose. It is big business these days and requires careful management. The flow of goods into these shops is quite a statement of the sort of society we live in. One thing that is clear is that many in our society see the needs of the poor as somebody else's problem. For example, the local op shops receive dozens of used mattresses. These are usually dumped in the middle of the night in front of the charity. Such organisations are quite clear that mattresses cannot be reused. They have to be disposed of and that costs money (typically around $50 each). Charities have to spend thousands of dollars each year disposing of unusable goods because we do not take the time to find out what is useable and what is not. We are not thinking of the needy at all. We are simply using charities to suit our own convenience.

    Now don't get me wrong. Charities often do a good job. For example, in our area, a house burned down and the local charities stepped in and provided enough goods for the family to keep going until they were able to re-establish themselves. The problem is not with the charities; it is with us. Sure, we have goods and chattels that we want to get rid of, but if we have any thought for the needy at all we should at least sort them into what is usable and what is rubbish. That is called being considerate.

    In the modern world, the widow's mite may be compared to the person who thinks carefully about what he gives, and by inference what they consider as rubbish. They can genuinely help the needy.

    Almsgiving is much more than just giving away the stuff you don't need. It is about using your brain to genuinely help people.

    • Right. I'd say get close to God. He is able to change my heart, and makes me voluntarily and happily help others. When I do something while being disconnected from the Vine, my fruits are juiceless. The secret to give back to God with joy in the heart is to get close to Him. He is able to do for me what I cannot.

      Almsgiving = something (such as money or food) given freely to relieve the poor

  2. The lesson today reminds me of Job as he describes how he practiced almsgiving „in the days when God preserved me“- verse 1 of Chapter 29, lamenting that at that point of his life, he isn‘t able to continue his charitable work.

    Job 29:12-16
    12 Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him.

    13 The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.

    14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.

    15 I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame.

    16 I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.
    And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.

    What a role model to follow, yet we see here that life‘s circumstances play a role in our offerings and alms activities.

    Naturally, Job wasn‘t bragging about his good works and God rewarded him for his faith and humility, not for his good deeds which came from the heart.

    So it‘s important not to put to exhibition what we donate or whom we support as Matt. 6:1-4 exhorts us not to do our alms before men, to be seen of them (not even the left hand to know what the right hand is doing), otherwise "ye have no reward of your father which is in heaven.“

  3. This sentence by the author bothers me: "The heart of Cornelius followed his gifts." This to me sounds like the giving caused his love. It seems to me the emphasis should be the other way around. His love for others caused him or motivated him to be a generous giver. Or am I misunderstanding the intent or meaning of the above sentence?

    1 Samuel 16:7 last part

    "For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”

    Yes, it's taken partially out of context but still applies. God is more concerned about why we give more so than what we give as offerings. My love for God and others should have a symbiotic relationship with my actions toward others.

    • Regarding the sentence about Cornelius -
      Perhaps it was that in his heart he cared about how the recipients were doing.
      We know a family who has “less” than we do and I keep up with them. I cannot buy them a house or give them a new truck but we do what we can and stay in touch with them (and their needs) - so my heart follows my giving.

    • I think actually Cornelius' gifts followed his heart. Many people give, but for the wrong reasons, and I don't really think God regards that positively.

    • Due to popular portrayal of 'love', we don't realise that within the Kingdom of God life, love and giving are inseparably one-and-the-same. Therefore one doesn't actually precede or follow the other. Have a look at passages such as John 3:16; 15:13 and Ephesians 5:25 through this inseparable one-and-the-same perspective and see what you see.

      It is also true that what we devote our attention to is what our heart will resonate with because what our heart resonates with we will devote our attention to. It's the one-and-the-same phenomenon again. Perhaps this is what the author may have been referring to regarding Cornelius.

      Your reference to 1 Samuel 16:7 is not partially out of context - it is stating a wonderful summary principle that is expressed consistently across Scripture.

  4. I think that one’s participation in 'giving' includes that we learn to give from the heart; we 'give' of ourselves in all the basic exchanges of everyday life. Are we stingy or are we generous; do we embrace opportunities to share the love of God with each other, or do we seek to avoid them? As Ellen White points out, we ought to consider our motivation and give/interact from a thankful heart.

    The account about the inclusion of the Gentile Cornelius in the family of God is an example of the universality of the Christian religion. We all are the family of believers in Christ. To live this understanding that we are all equal in the eyes of God, is at the heart of the fellowship of the family of God.

    Yes, God knows each one of His children intimately, much better than we know ourselves. If we accept this to be true, we know that we cannot hide from Him the motives of our heart. We humbly ask for the Holy Spirit to continue to change our heart and mind and so increase the capacity to express our love for our heavenly Father and our fellow man.

  5. This woman was giving more than the rich that day in two ways. First she was giving a greater portion of her resources. Second, her story has influenced billions around the world, through the ages to give what little they can. When you add all that up, it equals way more than what the rich gave that day.

    Years ago a church treasurer told me, she loves giving out offering receipts at the end of the year, so even “poor” people can see how their faithful systematic offerings each week added up to a significant amount over time.

    I think it was the same treasurer who told me whenever a child gives a small offering, she makes sure she gives them a tax receipt even though the child won’t be doing taxes. She wants the child to know, the church and God took note of their giving, just as Jesus took note of the poor widow’s giving.

  6. This week, Wednesday's lesson also brings to mind God's bountiful blessings and now-incredible mercies upon my husband, Leonard, and me while we were at Loma Linda University, during the 1990s. We saw many a miracle while simultaneously completing respective studies and growing our nuclear family!

    I prayerfully tithed our "on-time" birthday gifts from my parents and siblings. We both volunteered our time where we could, particularly in helping to provide relief (sometimes just a listening ear) following disastrous earthquakes.

    At the time of my husband's doctoral graduation, a small amount owed the school showed up in the mail: A relative felt inspired, by the Holy Spirit, to include the exact amount in an envelope!

    I felt most blessed giving during a period of time when my husband and I had far less to give. Deut.14:22

    I know, for sure, that we serve a mighty, promise-keeping Creator, who changes not. Let us be faithful in answering His call to faithfulness.


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