With All Your Heart

In Romans 12, Paul encourages the
Roman Christians to use the gifts that they have
been given through the grace of God. “Having
gifts that differ according to the grace given to us,
let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our
faith; if service, in our serving; the one who
teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in
his exhortation; the one who contributes, in
generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one
who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness” (vv. 6-
8). It is interesting to note that with some of these
listed gifts he mentions, he encourages his
readers to use them with particular passion. For
instance, he calls upon those whose gift is
leadership to lead with zeal. Also, he challenges
those with the gift of mercy to exercise that gift
with cheerfulness. And for those who contribute,
Paul says to do so with generosity.
Each of us knows people who are
incredibly generous. We all know the type—
people we describe as those who would “give the
shirt off their backs.” Generous people are ones
who respond freely and regularly to calls for help,
and they are typically the first to do so. In my life, I
have come across many folks who fit that
description. In addition, I have found that the truly
generous are characteristically discreet regarding
their contributions.
At the end of Mark 12, we read of Jesus
sitting across from the Temple treasury box
watching people file past and toss in their
contributions. One person stands out in particular,
but it is not any of the wealthy people who threw
in “large sums.” Rather, it is a poor widow. She
catches Jesus’s attention because she gives
everything she has. We rightly marvel at the
generosity of this poor woman. But is her
generosity the point of the story, or is there
something else at work?

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