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“She, poor as she is, put in all she had – she gave all she had to live on”.

Mk 12:44 GNB

The story of the “widow’s mite” is instructive for Christian believers. Basically, there are three kinds of giving in which Christians may engage.

The first is “Tipping God”. When some person performs a relatively menial task for you, you will maybe give that person a tip. It is usually a coin that you have in your purse or wallet. Many people keep a few coins specifically for this purpose. They are left over money that isn’t part of your budget. When you have tipped the person, you don’t notice that the money’s gone. Some people tip God in a similar way. It isn’t part of their budget. They don’t notice their small gift has gone.

The second kind of giving is proportional giving. We decide that we need to give some proportion of our income to God. It is not easy to decide just what proportion. The Old Testament standard was a tithe, or ten percent. Of course, they gave to the temple or synagogue – and those institutions performed many of the social services that today are done by the state – such as educating children. Nowhere does the New Testament specify that ten percent is what a Christian must give, but many Christian disciples accept this as their choice. For many others such a level would be exorbitant and cause hardship to their families, and they would work on a lower percentage.

The third kind of giving is sacrificial giving. Some say “Give till it hurts” which is exactly what the widow did in the gospel story. And there are Christian believers who do just that.

Think and pray and work out for yourself what you need to give to God.


Lord, thank you for my money. Guide me how to give to you.

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