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From the Pastor's Desk

August 2019

 

 

"Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  "

II Corinthians 9:7

            I'm sure we've all had the experience of being a guest at a congregation and coming to the offering time.  "What should I do?" may be the question running through your head.  Do I give a little?  Do I give a lot?  Do I give all?

Yes, the offering may be one of the more uncomfortable times to be a guest in a worship service.  So uncomfortable, that perhaps this is why some churches have gotten rid of the offering altogether and have opted for private or online giving.  And yet, we acknowledge that the offering is an aspect of our worship.  In fact, you may at times hear a pastor say, "And we will now worship the Lord with our tithes and our offerings."  Therefore, with these things in mind, as as we continue to learn about how we worship and why, we now consider the offering.

The giving of an offering is a practice that finds its roots all the way back in the Old Testament Church (aka. Israel).  One writer describes it like this, "A tenth of Israel's seed, fruit, and flocks were given to the Lord.  The people gave a tenth to the Levites to support them, and the Levites, in turn, were to give a tenth to the chief priest.  Those who didn't tithe were threatened with a curse, while those who did tithe were promised blessing."

Now, this same author goes on to give seven reasons why these offering requirements (note that this was required, not suggested) are no longer binding on the New Testament Church, which we would agree with.  But this is the historic roots of the practice of an offering, and, although no longeer required of us, we should still be giving to the work of the Lord.  In fact, this voluntary giving is modeled in the New Testament Church.

In Acts 4 we read, "And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.  There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what wa sold and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need."  Here we see in the early days of the church that the offerings given were used to support those in need.

We see another example of this in Acts 11.  Here, the church in Antioch heard of a great famine that would take place in Judea, "so the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea.  And they did so."

As the author quoted above concludes, "Even though tithing isn't required today, it does not follow that believers should hoard their possessions.  We are commanded to support those who preach the gospel (Matt. 10:10; Luke 10:7; I Cor. 9:6-14; I Tim. 5:17-18).  And while we should enjoy the good things God gives us, we are also called to be generous to those in need (I Tim. 6:17-19; II Cor. 8-9).  Wealth can so easily become an idol, leading us to abandon the Lord.  Since God is to be our treasure, believers are to give generously and freely."

So, does this giving need to be done during the worship service?  No.  Anytime is a good time to give to the work of the Lord whether it be in your local congregation or another ministry that has been laid on your heart.  However, we do acknowledge that in giving to the Lord this is an act of worship and, therefore, it has its proper place in the worship service.

In The Adult Class Manuel, Martin Anderson writes, "Those who have received much should give much; those who have received less should give less.  The widow's mite is great in the sight of God when it is all one can give."

Pastor Gideon

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