Leviticus 5-6; Psalm 40; Isaiah 7; Mark 17; 2 Corinthians 8

If you know me at all, you know that I am a huge sports fan.  I grew up 60 miles west of Chicago, so I love all things Chicago sports, except the White Sox. Not interested in the White Sox, sorry White Sox fans.

I remember a couple of buddies of mine and in 1984 going to see the Cubs play the Padres on a warm June day.  We paid two bucks a piece to sit in the famous left-field bleachers.  We drank and ate and rooted like mad.

Today those same bleacher seats cost over $70.

I watched the super bowl on Sunday.  I was amazed at the people in the stands.  Actors, politicians, the very wealthy.  But not very many ordinary people were there.  Why?  Well, the average ticket costs $2500.  Who has that kind of money lying around?

Stadiums are being built at the cost of billions.  Player salaries are through the roof.  Who pays?  The fan in the seats.  The NFL, NBA, MLB seem to take for granted the average person who roots for his team and focus on those who have the means to help them financially.

I wonder if we are guilty of the same behavior as an NFL owner ing in the church sometimes?

We marvel when a wealthy singer comes to Christ.  We put plaques on the wall when someone donates a large sum to a building project.  Tuition in our schools is so high that poor students can’t attend.

Do we subconsciously focus our efforts on those who can help the church financially at the detriment of those who are poor?  It’s a legitimate question.

The next time you’re involved in a building project, think about how you are perceived by the single mother, struggling to make ends meet in the audience.  When you are looking at offering totals and praise an individual for a large donation, beware of the temptation to look down on someone who’s offering is less.  You do not know the circumstances that a person is in.

In the four Gospels, Jesus only praised one person for the amount of an offering.  In Mark 12:41-44, Jesus is watching the offerings being given.  He sees all the wealthy dropping their money into the collection.  But he only praised one poor widow who gave a penny. She had to rely on God for everything.  She was ignored by the church, but not by Jesus.

God judges our offerings, not by the amount but by the heart!  We would do well to remember that before heaping praise.

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