What Does the Bible Say About Giving and Saving?

In Mark 12, we meet the poor widow who gave two small coins in the temple treasury as her offering. In verse 42, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on”.

At church, I was asked, “If Jesus commended her for this gift, shouldn’t we too give all we have?”  Great question.

This widow is considered one of the greatest givers in Scripture.

We know God wants us to be cheerful and generous givers, so should we also give all we have?

The principle we learn from the widow is that her heart’s condition was right – she knew Jesus is worthy of everything she had. She teaches us the right attitude and motives for giving; she didn’t give all she had out of obligation, but out of love, honor, and reverence.

However, she is not considered the greatest saver in Scripture. The Bible points to Joseph, who saved a nation and the people of God by saving diligently during seven good years in preparation for seven years of famine. In Proverbs 6 and 30, we learn from the lowly ant the habit of saving during the harvest to have something for the winter.  So yes, we should give like the widow, with a heart attitude of God’s absolute worthiness to have all we possess, but we should also save like Joseph.

Finally, God commending her actions does not make her more righteous. He used her pure heart to point out the hardened hearts of the Pharisees and to encourage all the givers of the world that any gift with the right attitude matters greatly in God’s kingdom. But she was not more righteous. Only the grace of God makes her or you and me righteous in His eyes.

Are you a generous giver? Sometimes what we believe about money and how we behave don’t match up with Scripture – for example, you may believe that giving is good, but you have a hard time following up on the action. The MoneyLife Indicator assessment will help you see where these areas of growth are, as well as what financial areas you excel in. It’s free and will help you focus on specific areas of growth so you can become a better steward and find more freedom.