What’s the Real Cost of Our Giving?

Sheena Gershom   |   December 15, 2023 

One of my favourite stories in the gospels is Jesus feeding the multitude with five loaves and two fish. The fact that the little boy gave up his lunch (maybe even all of it) is a wonder in itself! I have teen sons at home, and I can tell you, they don’t readily part with their food – especially when hungry. Yet, this boy in Jesus’ company did!

His meager offering would in no way be sufficient to feed 5000+ people, and there was no guarantee he’d get any of it back. But he gave it all, ate until he was sated, and probably even had leftovers to take home.

We can see a similar story when two widows gave up everything they had. The widow of Zarephath was willing to give Elijah her last meal. And the poor widow in the temple offered her last two coins – all she had to live on.

Their giving cost them everything they had. They held nothing back.

I’m not very stingy about money, but after years of living on the verge of burnout, I’ve become overly protective of my time and energy. I’m all too aware of my limitations and always hesitate to say yes to major commitments.

Last month, the Lord convicted me that my giving is like that of the rich men in the temple – they were happy to give from their excess because it didn’t pinch them. But the poor widow gave God her all. The little she gave was everything she had. She might not have had enough for her next meal, but Jesus saw her sacrificial offering and honoured it.

In 2 Samuel 24:24, we see King David insisting that he cannot offer the Lord a sacrifice that cost him nothing.

Most of us have learnt the importance of tithing and giving to the needy. But how much of our giving costs us something? After all, the ultimate Giver gave His only beloved Son to die on our behalf.

I can’t imagine voluntarily giving up one of my sons to die for someone else’s sin. And yet, that’s just what God did!

Jesus gave Himself up for us – holding nothing back. His giving cost Him everything. The one who broke the five loaves and fed the multitude let His own body be broken to save the souls of millions.

So, how much is our giving worth if it doesn’t cost us anything?

2 Corinthians 9:7 says, "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

When we cheerfully give what we treasure to the Lord, it will not be in vain. Even in those years when I was physically depleted and emotionally wrung out, I remember how God gave me just enough grace and strength to get me through each day.

"For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for His name in serving the saints, as you still do." Hebrews 6:10

God doesn’t overlook what we do for Him. Yes, our giving will cost us something, maybe even everything… but it will not be in vain. God will ensure our little is multiplied enough to bless many and bring Him the glory.

Perhaps you're in a season of serving that's already costing you a great deal of your time and resources. God will either give you the grace and strength to keep persevering, or He may ask you to take a step back for a while and let others step in to do what you're struggling with.

As we navigate this season of giving and make plans for the new year, let’s take some time to ask the Lord how we can use the resources He's given us in 2024. He sees our heart's desire to serve Him, and He will guide us to make the right commitments in a way that will bless us in return.


Photo by Morgan Housel on Unsplash

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Sheena lives in Bangalore with her husband and triplet sons. When she gets a moment's peace, she enjoys journaling, reading, and listening to podcasts. She sporadically documents real-life stories and lessons she's learning from God's Word at SheenaGershom.com

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