It's our motives that make the gift what it is, not the amount it is. If you've been around children for a while I'm sure you remember a story like this (or even from your own childhood). A child gives another someone one of his toys. You're proud of that child, until he says something like:
I didn't like it anyway.
I'll just get a better one.
Now he has to give me something since I gave him something.
I'm such a generous person! Look what a nice person I am.
The gift I gave him is a whole lot better than the one that other kid gave him.
He's not treating the toy I gave him right.
I want it back.
How come he isn't being nice to me now? I gave him something. He was supposed to be my best friend since I gave him my toy!
Can you hear us Believers in some of those childish statements? Can you hear our motives when we give to God?
I think that widow who gave out of her poverty just wanted to give all she had to God because she loved Him so much. That's the kind of giving God honors.
God doesn't need our money.
When we give in a calculating way we are still controlling the resources in our households. There's nothing wrong with being responsible and having a budget, but it all must be done with the realization that God has placed us as stewards over our households. All we have belongs to Him. We must be open to giving much much more than we think we planned if God leads us in that way.
The only rule in giving in the New Testament is found in 2 Corinthians 9:7. It says: Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.
Who wants a gift from someone who really doesn't want to give it? I don't. God doesn't either.