When a Pumpkin Is More Valuable than a $1,000

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We don’t do it intentionally, but we do it.

We mislabel and falsely recognize acts of giving as generous.

I made a contribution to something recently, and the person responded back by saying thanks for the ‘generous gift’.

While I appreciate the effort to honor my gift, it made me realize that we misunderstand generosity.

Here’s how I think we typically define generous.

The larger the contribution = the more generous the gift.

Travel back in time to Mark 12:41-44 where Jesus is sticking his nose in other people’s business – watching people put money into the temple treasury.

Many rich people put in large amounts.

Was it at this point that Jesus stopped and took the opportunity to teach his disciples about generosity?


Did Jesus point and say, “There. That’s what I’m talking about. That guy just dropped a whole mitt full of money.”


A lady timidly slithers up to the container (as discreetly as possible) and drops in two coins.

At that moment, we recognize Jesus’ jubilance. Jesus has just witnessed generosity in its truest and purest form.

That woman, Jesus says, put in more than the rest. Generosity is not gauged by the number of zeros at the end.

The Generosity of Vegetables

Last week, my family and I traveled back to Lavora to say goodbye to the Christians there. When we left, they gave us the gift of a huge pile of sweet potatoes, bananas, pumpkins, and even a chicken.

What a tremendous act of generosity!

Those items could have been used to feed their family. They could have been used to sell in the market.

But they gave them as a warm gift.

Were Jesus there, I believe he would have commended those Christians for giving out of their poverty.

I left the experience challenged – challenged to grow in the grace of giving.

Has anyone ever given you a ‘small gift’ that you quickly recognized as the most generous gift you’ve received?


  1. says

    It is interesting to see how different cultures show appreciation. We could all take a lesson from the family that shared their food with you. When you give from the heart the blessing will surely come back.

  2. says

    Yes. Numberous times Cheryl and I have had families with low incomes prepare us a meal as a thank you for a service we had rendered (without looking for or expecting anything in return). Knowing the strapped condition of the families made the gift that much more meaningful and appreciated.


  3. says

    Too often money becomes the easy way out. Some people give more money because they have it to spend and they may not really see it as being generous. When someone gives you their own food that could have fed their family that means something. If a person only has a dollar but is willing to give you his or her last thats valuable.

  4. says

    I just read this story this week about the widow. I realized that many times we spend so much time thinking about how much money we need that we forget how so many are living on so much less. Thanks for that reminder!

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