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Extravagant Gifts

When I was pastoring a small church, we faced a huge crisis. Unless we could complete the extensive renovations necessary to bring our building up to the proper safety codes, we would lose our place of worship. A desperate time of fundraising ensued to pay for those renovations; but of all the money given, one gift captured our leadership’s attention.

An elderly woman in the church donated several hundred dollars to the project—money we knew she could not spare. We thanked her for her gift but wanted to return it, feeling that her needs were greater than the church’s. However, she refused to take the money back. She had been saving for years in order to buy a stove and was cooking on a hot plate in the meantime. Yet she insisted that she needed a place to worship with her church family more than she needed a stove. We were astounded by her extravagant gift.

When our Lord observed a widow putting two mites (the smallest of coins) into the temple offerings, He praised her for her extravagance (Luke 21:3-4). Why? Not because of how much she gave, but because she gave all she had. It’s the kind of gift that not only honors our God, but also reminds us of the most extravagant of gifts to us—Christ.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man, I would do my part;
Yet what can I give Him—give my heart. —Rossetti
Gratitude of heart can often be seen in a generous spirit.