2 Corinthians 9:7
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
The first mention of an offering being brought in the history of the world is the one brought by Cain – first son of Adam and Eve.
St. Paul would later admonish us to give cheerfully.
That’s what this devotion is all about – cheerfully giving!
The previous devotions in this series are:
Part 1 – Hymnody
Part 2 – Invocation
Part 3 – Baptism
Part 4 – Confession of Sins
Part 5 – Absolution
Part 6 – Introit / Psalmody
Part 7 – Kyrie
Part 8 – Hymn of Praise
Part 9 – Scripture Readings
Part 10 – Sermon
Part 11 – Confession of Faith
After confessing sins, singing hymns, hearing God’s Word and the sermon and confessing the Christian faith, it comes time in the worship service to “take the offering.”
This can be one of the most misunderstood parts of the worship service.
“There they go again, asking for money!”
I’ve heard that mumbled and grumbled many times in the last twenty-plus years.
Yes, the offering is a time for the participants in worship to give money to the church. But what is that money for?
Well, I believe that it is supposed to be for the mission and ministry of the congregation and the Church at large. Operating costs, staff’s salary, mission projects – both local, national and international.
It boils down to this: the offering is a time when a member of a congregation or other participants in worship can be actively involved in missions and ministries.
How much should you give? The Bible uses the word “tithe” a couple of times – 35 times in the English Standard Version, actually.
“Tithe” means “ten percent” of what you have.
But more important than a set number is the state of your heart when you give.
Are you giving under compulsion? This Jesus warns against, just as He does against giving in order to get some investment on your return.
Like everything else in our lives, the state of our heart can help us determine whether we are giving as God intends for us to give.
The Bible uses the word “cheerful” – which could more accurately be translated as “hilarious.”
Have you felt like that when you last gave to the church?
And it doesn’t just have to be money you give, by the way.
You have been given other things by God. You have been given time. You have been given talent. Some have been given more treasure than others, more time than others, different talents than others.
I have two friends who have been given numerous talents, but they share one: taking pictures.
Richard and Craig both are talented in different ways – one makes music, the other climbs and teaches others how to climb. And they both give to God in these areas.
copyright Richard Souther
But they also share a talent of taking pictures – and they give to God in this area, too. These pictures are ones they have taken that I believe give great glory to God.
In a way, these are also their offering to God.
What can you give?