Radical, by David Platt, Chapter 3, Parts 3 and 4
I appreciate the author's honesty. He said that at one time, he thought about all that his church could accomplish with all of the resources they had at their fingertips. Then he rethought that, and realized that without the power of the Holy Spirit.
Isn't that the message of the Bible? Seldom does God choose those who have it together to get his jobs done. More often he chooses those who need to rely on him. It is not our strengths that show God's glory (even though those strengths ultimately come from him in the first place), it is our weaknesses. God is most glorified when we get a task done that on our own we could not have ever accomplished.
Why was the widow's mite such an incredible gift? Others gave much more, out of their abundance. Their gifts did not glorify God like hers did because their gifts did not depend on God's power and might. I am not talking about in the lives of those who would receive the gifts, but in the life of the one who gave it! I don't think the widow was thinking about what her gift would accomplish when she gave it. Perhaps she was thinking about where her next meal might come from. But her primary thought must have been that in this act she was worshipping God.
The author gives the example of George Muller, who started an orphanage for children. But his goal was not to feed children, it was to honor God. God has the resources, he does not need ours.
Which would impress you more, a from-the-free-throw-line dunk by Michael Jordan, or the giving of a mite by a widow? One requires God-given talent, the other requires absolute dependence on God. One requires grace on the court, the other requires the grace of God. One has little consequence for failure, the other is like a high wire act without a net. One is flashy and gathers ohs and ahs, the other is hardly noticeable. Which one impresses you most? Now ask, which one impresses God.