Welfare Ministry


Chapter 24—Poor to Exercise Benevolence

Not the Amount, but the Prompting Love—The poor are not excluded from the privilege of giving. They, as well as the wealthy, may act a part in this work. The lesson that Christ gave in regard to the widow's two mites shows us that the smallest willing offerings of the poor, if given from a heart of love, are as acceptable as the largest donations of the rich. In the balances of the sanctuary the gifts of the poor, made from love of Christ, are estimated, not according to the amount given but according to the love which prompts the sacrifice.—The Review and Herald, October 10, 1907. WM 203.1

Sacrifice Also Required of the Poor—Some who are poor in this world's goods are apt to place all the straight testimony upon the shoulders of the men of property. But they do not realize that they also have a work to do. God requires them to make a sacrifice.—The Review and Herald, April 18, 1871. WM 203.2

She Did What She Could—The Saviour called His disciples to Him and bade them mark the widow's poverty. Then His words of commendation fell upon her ear: “Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all.” Tears of joy filled her eyes as she felt that her act was understood and appreciated. Many would have advised her to keep her pittance for her own use. Given into the hands of the well-fed priests, it would be lost sight of among the many costly gifts brought to the treasury. But Jesus understood her motive. She believed the service of the temple to be of God's appointment, and she was anxious to do her utmost to sustain it. She did what she could, and her act was to be a monument to her memory through all time, and her joy in eternity. Her heart went with her gift; its value was estimated, not by the worth of the coin, but by the love to God and the interest in His work that had prompted the deed. WM 203.3

Jesus said of the poor widow, She “hath cast in more than they all.” The rich had bestowed from their abundance, many of them to be seen and honored by men. Their large donations had deprived them of no comfort, or even luxury; they had required no sacrifice, and could not be compared in value with the widow's mite. WM 204.1

It is the motive that gives character to our acts, stamping them with ignominy or with high moral worth. Not the great things which every eye sees and every tongue praises does God account most precious. The little duties cheerfully done, the little gifts which make no show, and which to human eyes may appear worthless, often stand highest in His sight. A heart of faith and love is dearer to God than the most costly gift. The poor widow gave her living to do the little that she did. She deprived herself of food in order to give those two mites to the cause she loved. And she did it in faith, believing that her heavenly Father would not overlook her great need. It was this unselfish spirit and childlike faith that won the Saviour's commendation. WM 204.2

Among the poor there are many who long to show their gratitude to God for His grace and truth. They greatly desire to share with their more prosperous brethren in sustaining His service. These souls should not be repulsed. Let them lay up their mites in the bank of heaven. If given from a heart filled with love for God, these seeming trifles become consecrated gifts, priceless offerings, which God smiles upon and blesses.—The Desire of Ages, 615, 616. WM 204.3

How the Macedonian Church Responded—Paul wrote to the Corinthian church: “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; how that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.” WM 205.1

There had been a famine at Jerusalem, and Paul knew that many of the Christians had been scattered abroad, and that those who remained would be likely to be deprived of human sympathy and exposed to religious enmity. Therefore he exhorted the churches to send pecuniary assistance to their brethren in Jerusalem. The amount raised by the churches exceeded the expectation of the apostles. Constrained by the love of Christ, the believers gave liberally, and they were filled with joy because they should thus express their gratitude to the Redeemer and their love for the brethren. This is the true basis of charity according to God's Word.—Testimonies for the Church 6:271, 272. WM 205.2

According to Our Entrusted Talents—Of the church in Macedonia we read that “in a great trial of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.” Then, shall any of us who profess to be Christians think that we shall be excused in doing nothing for the truth because we are poor? We regard the precious light of truth as an inexpressible, inexhaustible treasure. We are to exert an influence in proportion to our entrusted talents, be we rich or poor, high or low, ignorant or learned. We are servants of Jesus Christ, and the Lord expects us to do our best.—The Review and Herald, September 4, 1894. WM 205.3

Not to Be Denied the Blessing of Giving—A responsibility rests upon the ministers of Christ to educate the churches to be liberal. Even the poor are to have a part in presenting their offerings to God. They are to be sharers of the grace of Christ in denying self to help those whose need is more pressing than their own. Why should the poor saints be denied the blessing of giving to aid those who are still poorer than themselves? The work of educating the people along these lines has been neglected, and the churches have failed to give for the necessity of poorer churches, and thus the blessing has been withheld that should have been theirs, and will be withheld until they shall have a realizing sense of their neglect.—The Review and Herald, September 4, 1894. WM 206.1