Do you tend to think that if someone is “good” and you do more than them, you must be better? Or maybe if someone did something “bad” and you don’t do anything quite as bad, you must be doing better than they are?
Comparative thinking is one of the easiest ways for us to give ourselves a sense of security and significance. We look at what others are doing, and then what we are doing, and it’s easy to gain a sense of identity from how we stack up.
But Jesus confronts this kind of thinking in Luke 20:45-21:4 by suggesting that a woman who gave far less money than the religious celebrities of her day actually gave far more because it was sacrificial and worshipful instead of comparative and self-validating. The heart behind her giving mattered far more than the amount.
So today, if you are asking yourself, “How much do I give in order to do well?” or “How much do I serve in order to be pleasing to God?” the answer is: with all of your mind, with all of your soul, and with all of your strength. This is an expression of love to God and others; it’s not about whether or not you’ve done “enough.”
45 And in the hearing of all the people he said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 47 who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
21:1 Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, 2 and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3 And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 4 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”