Mark 8:36 (NLT) And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?
Jesus not only closely watched people give their offerings, He watched them critically. He went beyond their visible actions and looked into their hearts. Jesus called His disciples over and said: "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury" (Mark 12:43). He didn't want them to miss seeing the heart of the widow, or to miss the lesson that her giving provided.
Most of us would miss watching the widow. Instead, we would be watching the bigwigs in the temple, the ones who made large offerings from their ample funds. We would be impressed by how much they gave. We might even suggest honoring them for their giving, maybe naming a building after the donor. But Jesus didn't call the disciples over to see the big givers. He called them over to notice a poor widow who gave less than a penny.
Why did Jesus fix His attention on the widow? Because she gave more. "She, out of her poverty, put in all she owned" (v. 44), while the rich men gave out of their surplus. The rich gave what they had left over. This woman didn't have anything extra; she gave everything she had. Jesus knew this, and He saw her heart. God measures our gift not by its amount, but by our motive. A godly steward will give with the motivation to honor God rather than just to tip Him with what he has left over after the bills are paid.
One Minute Please
God is not only interested in what you give; He also wants to know why you give it.