NEWSLETTER

November 2008

 
  from Pastor Blain  

Viewing Our Offering Box As An Altar Of Worship


A pastor announced on Sunday that he had made a new offering box for the weekly collection. He claimed that it was designed to encourage people to become better stewards of their money. “This new box,” he explained “has some interesting features. When you drop in a check or paper money in large amounts, the box makes no sound at all. Put a quarter in and it tinkles like a bell. A dime blows a whistle, and a penny fires a shot. When you put in nothing,the box takes your picture.”

 

I’m sure you have all noticed that our offering box is nothing like the one described above. It is instead a simple place for you to quietly express your love to Him. Aren’t you glad?

 

Several years ago, I had a conversation with a brother who was concerned that people in our Church may forget that our offerings to the Lord are an act of worship. His concern was that if we don’t pass a plate during the worship service people may simply drop their givings in our offering box without consciously considering the spiritual nature of the gift.


Scripture indicates that our financial giving is a worshipful response to the goodness of God. The Bible teaches that giving to the Lord is to be a key feature of our worship. See for example, Phil 4:18.

 

The fact that we use an offering box does not necessarily mean that the act of giving will not be worshipful. Certainly the widow who placed her offering in the treasury chest located in the court of the temple was worshipping when she gave. The Lord observes her giving, calls over His twelve disciples, grabs their attention by highlighting the significance of her offering, and emphatically commends her for giving out of her poverty (Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4). Worshipful giving is a matter of the heart not the particular mode of collection.

On the one hand, there are drawbacks to the offering box. With the plate, people give during the actual worship service so it may be easier for them to connect giving with the act of worship. Furthermore, when the plate is passed, this occasion provides a natural opportunity for the pastor or worship leader to remind the congregation that their giving is to be an expression of gratitude and faith toward God.

On the other hand, there are advantages to the offering box. It allows people to give more privately. When the plate is passed people may feel obliged to contribute because every one else seems to be doing so. Our giving must not be motivated by people but by God. Our offering box may put less pressure on a person to give and this can enhance worship.

 

It seems however that with the use of the offering box there is a great responsibility for leadership to communicate with the church. We need faithfully to remind our congregation, particularly the new believers, that when they place their offerings in our church “treasury” they are to do so as a conscious act of worship.

 

Ideally, we should prayerfully consider how much to give before we even leave for church on Sunday morning. The amount of our offering should be determined through prayer in advance of the worship service. And the placement of the offering should be an extension of that prayerful consideration whether our giving is placed in a box or a plate. I am convinced that I have not done my part in prompting the congregation. We all need to be reminded, if not frequently at least from time to time, that our giving is an offering unto the Lord. In the past several years these promptings have been rarely provided to you. For this I ask your forgiveness and repent.

 

I need to renew a commitment made some time ago that I have failed to follow. My renewed commitment is to encourage you more frequently either at theoutset of the service, in connection with the worship prayer or toward the end of the service. The format will probably vary but the intent will remain the same – to encourage you to give to the Lord as a genuine expression of love, faith and adoration.

 

Finally, let me add how thankful I am for the faithful giving of many in our church. Any prompting you may receive in the future from the pulpit in this regard will simply be to encourage you to excel still more. For those in our congregation whose faith needs to be increased in this important area, my intent will only be to prompt you to give cheerfully and sacrificially to support the ministry of Community Church.

 

May our love offerings continually please our good and faithful God.


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Community Church of the Santa Ynez Valley
240 E. Highway 246
Buellton, CA 93427