December 15, 2016

Radical Generosity

Written by Tripp Prince

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 15, 2016

By Tripp Prince

He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.’ Luke 21:1-4

This time of year, in the midst of shopping, parties, and decorations, we are often asked to consider our year-end giving. You’ve likely received letters in the mail, appeals in your inbox, and reminders from tax and financial planners. While this often may feel like yet another item to fit into an already overcrowded schedule, Jesus’s words in Luke 21 remind us of the great joy that can be found in a life of radical generosity.

The radical nature of this story is found in the way Jesus celebrates a gift of almost complete insignificance. If funds are needed to achieve a certain goal, whether that is to fund a budget, build a building, or launch a new program, the assumption is that the target amount is the ultimate goal. As such, the larger the amount, the more significant the gift, or at least that’s how the logic traditionally goes.

Jesus, by contrast, is infinitely more concerned with the state of your heart and the control money has over it than he is with the amount you give. He sees rich people giving huge sums of money, yet knows it is a gift of convenience. It is a gift that they never think twice about and in no way affects their comfort or lifestyle. By contrast, the poor widow has nothing to give, already living off the charity of friends and her community. And yet, not only does she give a portion of the little that she has, she “put in all she had to live on.”

The widow is for us a picture of complete and total dependence upon God. She is someone who knows the goodness, faithfulness, and care of the Lord so fully that she gives knowing she will not be forgotten or ignored. She knows that, for all the promises of protection, purpose, and power, money will always let her down and fail to deliver.

When we give not just from our abundance but especially from our place of need, we make a radical statement: our hope for provision is in God alone. In some ways, it is quite ironic, isn’t it, that every piece of American money reminds us of this truth. “In God We Trust” is printed and molded onto pieces of paper and metal that each day tempt us to misplace our trust and our hope. Yet this phrase can also be a helpful exhortation: you who are tempted to trust in wealth and resources, “Trust in God!”

Whether you have great wealth or live with significant need, give until it hurts this season, for as you do you boldly proclaim that God alone is your protector and provider!


Father, may we trust in you alone for our provision and protection today, tomorrow, and in the life to come. Amen.


How can your giving this season look more like the poor widow and less like the rich people?

Related Reading

Deuteronomy 15:10; Proverbs 22:9; Matthew 6:3-4; James 2:15-16

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