“Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.””

As a young teenager, I remember taking my French penfriend on a London sightseeing visit. Sitting in a leafy square to eat lunch, I noticed that there were a lot of ‘tramps’, for want of a better description. We’d eaten our fill and so I just had the thought offering our remaining packed lunches to these guys. I approached a man and he immediately took the food and paused before embracing me in a huge hug. I remember two things; the smell and the sense of peace and warmth that flowed into my soul.

I was a long way from giving “everything I had”, but I do attribute the start of my journey in search of God to that moment. I’d never experienced that inner sense of well-being. It catalysed my work with “Young Oxfam” and my engagement with issues of social justice. This was long before I became a Christian. It’s always good to be reminded that Christians don’t have a monopoly on goodness.

The other thing that was stirred was a reflection about when is enough, enough? I want to acknowledge that we are all different personalities. There is no one right answer to the question. Yet, Jesus appears to recognise that extravagance in giving is to be commended. His own example is itself an example of extravagant giving – or, as with the widow, giving everything she has.

The challenge of giving out of my surplus is that I always have the temptation to increase the size of my surplus. Usually, though, a surplus is not a problem I have. There’s usually too much month for the money. It is also giving everything from every part of our lives, and not limited to finance. So we are invited to wrestle with how we can give to God everything, holding nothing back.

Is it possible for you to increase your giving? Make a plan today.

Lord, create in me a generous heart and help me to excel in the grace of giving.