When giving an offering in the church, do you ever consider who or what you are giving to? Here are responses from participants at past seminars I’ve led:
- The church?
- The pastor?
- The leaders?
- The budget?
- A project?
In a recent Bible study, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to a truth I had not before seen. I came to realize that Christians are called to give to the Lord no matter the intended use of an offering.
When giving church offerings in the past, it was easy to think that I was giving to the church, pastor, leaders, budget, missions or projects. But I hadn’t really stopped to consider the deeper question of “Who am I really called to give to?”, even though my giving may have come from a heart of generosity and worship.
Here are some transforming scriptures I’ve found to be meaningful:
- Ex. 35:5, 21 —"From what you have, take an offering for the LORD. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the LORD an offering of gold, silver and bronze... and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought an offering to the LORD for the work on the Tent of Meeting [Tabernacle], for all its service, and for the sacred garments..." These verses are from a story in Exodus 25-35 when Moses took an offering from the people for the building of the Tabernacle. Despite the intended end use of the contributions – the building of the Tabernacle – the people were instructed to bring their offerings to the Lord, which they obediently and joyfully did.
- I Chronicles 29:9 – "The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given willingly and wholeheartedly to the Lord!" In this story, David and his leaders contributed massive amounts of their possessions for the building of the temple. Again, despite the end use of the contributions – the building of the temple – David and his leaders (and eventually the rest of the people) brought their contributions to the Lord!
- Lev. 27:30 — "A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the Lord." Though this passage speaks specifically to the tithe, it certainly applies to anything Christians bring to the Lord.
- II Corinthians 8:5 — "And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord, and then to us, in keeping with God’s will." This passage relates to the Macedonians, who themselves were destitute, yet pleaded with Paul to allow them to be part of the collection for the struggling Jerusalem church.
These passages relate to contributions brought to the Lord even though they were used for various capital and ministry projects.
The new awareness of this biblical truth has caused me to re-evaluate my motives and actions in giving to my church or another ministry. Now I consider who I am called to give to and that I am giving these gifts freely, because:
- They are not mine; they belong to the Lord (see Lev. 27:30 above).
- They are temporarily in my possession.
- God has assigned me a stewardship role over those possessions.
- Giving a portion back to Him is obedience to his call.
- My joyful giving to God acknowledges Him as my creator, owner of everything and His immeasurable generosity to me.
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