When I say the word offering what is the first thing that pops in your mind?
More often than not, an image of an offering plate/bag being passed around on Sunday morning with a few dollars being dropped in is what is thought of.
Did I nail your view? If so, keep reading, I may change your answer for the next time you are next asked this question. If I didn’t you should keep reading too, I might bring something out which you haven’t thought of before.
Church “offerings” are Important because they provide the financial means to continue furthering the gospel message, both by keeping the local churches able to reach out to the lost and broken in the local community and by funding missionaries so that the unreached people groups of the word can hear the name of Jesus for the first time.
Then, with the crowds listening, he turned to his disciples and said, “Beware of these experts in religion, for they love to parade in dignified robes and to be bowed to by the people as they walk along the street. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and at religious festivals! But even while they are praying long prayers with great outward piety, they are planning schemes to cheat widows out of their property. Therefore God’s heaviest sentence awaits these men.”
As he stood in the Temple, he was watching the rich tossing their gifts into the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small copper coins.
“Really,” he remarked, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them combined. For they have given a little of what they didn’t need, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”
Luke 20:45 – 21:1-4
Relax people! I have absolutely no intention of covering what should be given in a Sunday offering. However, before I go any further I need to make it clear that we are expected to support the local church in tithes and offering because we are commanded to give to “Caesar (the government in the form of taxes) what is Caesar’s and to God (the church) what is God’s (Mark 12:17).
What I want to focus on is at the very end of this passage. Clearly Jesus was trying to tell us something here, I mean, take a look at the last phrase (it is italicized). It isn’t our giving from the abundance of our pockets that leaves Jesus impressed with us, rather it is out of the giving from the abundance of our hearts that causes the heart of Jesus to flutter with joy. In fact, if this is what you think then your view of God is as narrow as the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. We are called to give out of the abundance – the overflow of our hearts…our lives. That giving isn’t limited to what comes out of our pocket books. No, in fact, that is skimming the very surface of what we are called to do. We are called to give our time, our efforts, our hearts, our love, our words, our mercy, our LIVES (Romans 12:1) to the cause of Christ.
Sacrifice according to Webster:
The act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone / the destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else.
The act of sacrificing of ourselves and our abilities and our time is what brings joy to the Savior’s heart. Why? Because we are giving up something we desire as an offering to the Father. It is an act of submission. When we give from the overflow of our hearts we are following the greatest example ever recorded, His. Jesus himself is the ultimate example of this. Take a look at Matthew 26-28 really quick before reading further.
Jesus calls us, by his very existence, to go above and beyond ripping the status quo to pieces. Why? Because that is what he did. With Jesus’ every breath, he tore down what the religious leaders and their interpretations of the law had set as a standard and allowed the Father to set him as the standard by fulfilling every prophecy concerning the life, death, and resurrection of the Messiah.
With that being said, let your offerings to God be your sacrifices in your day to day life. Don’t wait until Sunday morning worship service to give God your offering, instead…give it to Him in your every waking moment in your words and in your deeds. Stand in the offering plate, so to speak, and give of yourself. Follow the example set before us by Christ. Give sacrificially.
Food for thought: deeds done rooted in tradition instead of flowing from the overflow of the heart are viewed as pompous acts and prideful parades, like those of the teachers of the law in the eyes of Christ. What do your deeds look like before Jesus? Think about it.
Now answer me this, when I say the word offering what is the first thing that pops in your mind?