Mark 12:41-44, "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 few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, 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."
Have you ever felt like the widow who gave her last two mites? In verse 42 of Mark we read, "But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents." The Bible says that God was more pleased with her giving, since she gave all she had, than the rich who gave large sums. I can appreciate the gesture. The woman's love for God had a reckless abandon that pleased God. John MacArthur said, "Generosity is impossible apart from our love of God and of His people. But with such love, generosity not only is possible but inevitable." Generosity may be inevitable when we love God but what I wonder is the difference two mites can make? Can a little make a big impact? As I looked for examples of this I discovered a church in a very poor part of the world that is having more impact than many rich American churches.
Churches in the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram have a beautiful phrase to express the way they give to God—"Buhfai Tham.'" It means "one handful of rice at a time." Here's how it works: Families in the church set aside a portion of rice at every meal for God. When they collect enough rice, they donate it to their local church. The church turns around and sells the rice to generate income.
In 1914 they used the sale of rice to raise $1.50 (in U.S. money). But lately these Christians have been collecting $1.5 million as they support 1,800 missionaries, in addition to local ministry. People have also started giving in more creative ways, as vegetables, firewood, and other resources flow into the church's outreach for the kingdom.
One church leader said, "There are many ways of serving the Lord. Some people do great things. Some people are great preachers. Some people contribute lots and lots of money. But when we talk about this 'Handful of Rice,' it is very humble. The service is done in the corner of the kitchen where nobody sees, but God knows and he blesses it."
Another church member said, "It is not our richness or our poverty that make us serve the Lord, but our willingness. So we Mizo people say, 'As long as we have something to eat every day, we have something to give to God every day.'" [Adapted from Paul Pastor, "Giving Is Global," Leadership Journal (Spring 2013)]
Watch these generous believers share their story at: vimeo.com/16288195#
Yes, two mites makes a huge difference. First it pleases God who loves when we show such reckless abandon out of our love for him. Secondly, when it is a community that gives out of its poverty, when it is "collective generosity," a poor church who gives out of its poverty will always be richer than a rich church that gives stingily out of its abundance. One cup of rice, or two mites, can make a huge difference. When God blesses two mites, which is nothing in our hands, it becomes a fortune in the hands of God.
You have a chance to be generous towards God today. We always do. Will you be able to say along with the humble Christians of Mizoram, "As long as we have something to eat every day, we have something to give to God every day?"
Prayer: Father, we thank you for your generosity towards us. The poorest among us can be truly rich in your eyes. Help us to understand the heart of true generosity and step into the suffering of this world to make a difference in your name. Be pleased by what you see in us today. In Jesus name, amen.