It is perhaps the most dreaded portion of the worship service; the part that causes great consternation among both visitor and life-long member alike: the offering. For the visitor, there is the constant question of how much to put in the offering plates, if anything. For
the life-long member there is the question of whether or not this Sunday’s offering will be enough to pay the bills.
Everyone knows the old adage of putting 10% into the offering, but it would be hard for one to actually find anyone who practices this. For most people, the offering is actually a pretty simple process, because most people put the same amount into the offering every week. It is in response to this rigid regular giving each week that many congregations now
offer their members the opportunity to simply directly deposit their offerings into the church’s bank account.
But is giving the same amount every week really what God commands? Or should one give
according to how the week actually went?
One of the complaints I, and others, have against people giving electronically is that it removes any connection between the giver and the actual giving. The offering soon becomes just another bill that is paid each month, much like one pays the gas or electric bill. On the contrary, the offering demands that you actually sit down and contemplate the
gifts that God has given to you; and not only the gifts, but also the work that God has given your congregation to do in the community.
The offering is not a bill that must be paid to the congregation otherwise the Pastor will refuse you communion or not forgive your sins. The offering is you, moved by faith, giving
in response to what God has given you on this earth, and in support of the work that God has given to your congregation to carry out in that particular place.
If nobody wants to give 10% in the offering, then give according to the blessings that God has bestowed upon you: give according to the food on your table and the clothes on your back, give according to the job you go to and the schools that your kids attend, give according to the earthly possessions that you have, and if nothing else, give according to the fact that Jesus died for your sins.
Ultimately, farmers may have the best idea regarding the offering. I have had several tell me that they give only a few times a year, but that when they did it was after they sold cattle or crops or something else that resulted in them receiving a significant amount of money. Their offering was based directly off of the blessings that God had given to them.
The offering is not to be dread, because it is not the tax collector coming to your door to collect on what you owe. Rather, the offering is your opportunity to use the blessings that God has given to you in order to support the work that God has given your congregation to do in that particular place.