I went to church today as usual, and everything went pretty much as scheduled. After our typical time of worship through song, one of the church board guys stood up to take the offering and give the announcements. Often there is some little encouragement to give, but for some reason today’s really stood out to me.
For some reason he started talking about fear, and how financial pressures create fear when it comes to giving. We should have faith, however, and give in spite of our fear. I don’t recall exactly how he put it (I wish I could), but the three key words were giving, fear and faith, not necessarily in that order. About this time I was having flashbacks of bad TV preachers, and I thought, “Our faith, what about your faith? Why doesn’t the church leadership have faith, and stop making such a big show about the offerings? Why not just put a box on the back table and tell people to give if they feel led?”
That’s pretty radical, I know… but, I used to belong to a church that did just that, and everything worked out great. If the church leadership exhibited a bit more real faith, perhaps I’d start trusting them with some of my money. (Obviously at this point you’ve figured out that I don’t believe you have to tithe to your local church. For more on this, you can read my article on SmallVoices.)
We give to the church in other ways – my wife and I teach the Teen Sunday School class, which I love, and do other things as we feel led. We also give to groups and people, as we feel led.
The offering guy was, however, correct in that there is fear associated with giving, and that giving is an act of faith. That, however, does not presume that giving in fear on Sunday morning is necessarily the proper – or spiritual – thing to do.