Giving is meant to be a joyful expression of thanks to God from the heart and not a legalistic obligation. The value of our offering is not determined by how much we give, but how we give.
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."
Mark 12:41-44 (New International Version)
The Widow's Offering: Three important things about giving in this story of the widow's offering:
1. God values our offerings differently than men do.
In God's eyes, the value of the offering is not determined by the amount of the offering. The text says that the wealthy gave large amounts, but the widow's offering was of much higher value because she gave all that she had. It was a costly sacrifice. Note that Jesus did not say she put in more than any of the others, he said she put in more than all the others.
2. Our attitude in giving is what is most important to God.
The text says Jesus "watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury." Jesus observed the people as they gave their offerings, and he watches us today as we give. If we give to be seen by men or with a stingy heart toward God, our offering loses its value. Verse 41 says the rich threw in their offerings, further indicating that they gave carelessly with no thought. The widow carefully put in her offering. Jesus is more interested and impressed by how we give than what we give.
3. We rob God when we fail to give offerings to him.
Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' In tithes and offerings.
Malachi 3:8 (New International Version)
This verse speaks for itself, don't you think? The picture of our financial giving simply reveals a reflection of our lives surrendered to God.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God?this is your spiritual act of worship.
Romans 12:1 (New International Version)
When we truly recognize all that Christ has done for us, we will want to offer ourselves wholly to God as a living sacrifice of worship to him. Our offerings will flow freely from a heart of gratitude.