Is Your Pastor Just Speaking Sweet Words Just To Get Your Money?
How do you feel every time you give your offering to the church? Do you feel robbed? How many times you have been offended every time the offering was discussed?
I understand that most people are uncomfortable to discuss their money or income. Money is so close to being sacred that we devote our entire life to get it above all.
But what really is an offering? Is the church just an organization of a single person who wants to get rich from other people’s money?
Another question to consider deeply is, if God is an all-powerful god and owns everything, why does He need and asks for money or our resources?
First of all, before I suggest some answers to the mystery of money in our churches, my explanation will be intended towards Christians. Because if you don’t believe in God, then everything about it is nonsense to you. And rationalizing the offering will be nearly impossible.
But if you’re a Christian and still offended with giving your money to the church, I will try to give you some valid reason why we are doing it.
Does The Bible Ever Mentioned Something About Offering?
Money and offering has mentioned several times in the Bible. This offering may had different forms like live stocks, crops and money, but they still expressed the same intention: offering to God.
It is important to note in this topic about what I learned from my pastor that when something was mentioned in the Bible more than once, it means that it was given importance.
In the book of Malachi, God commanded His people to bring their tithes in the church and even accused them of robbing Him if they won’t return what is due to God.
So the first reason that we’re giving to church is to obey God’s commandment.
But why does an all-powerful and rich God would ask us to offer Him our resources? Does He need to eat? Does He need money?
Well, it’s not about what He needs. It’s all about what we need.
So what are our needs?
Let me discuss the needs of the church or the house of worship first.
In the book of Malachi chapter 3 verse 10 it says,
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts…” (Malachi 3:10)
Our resources are needed in the house of God.
Running a church today needs lots of money. Although we can still worship God in a cave, we need to use modern utilities and facilities in order to function properly in our generation, not to mention to serve our crave for comfort.
I’m talking about the following utilities:
The church’s other expenses include the workers’ salaries or allowances. You don’t expect the pastor will be the only person working in the church, are you?
Full-time church workers go out and conduct Bible studies, share the Gospel to the people and visit members.
Some churches print reading materials so we have something to read to inspire and guide us.
Most of us are even too choosy for a comfortable and luxurious church. The bigger and beautiful the building, the more members it has, and the more expensive it is to maintain.
I once answered a meme with a mocking question about church offering:
“If money is the root of all evil, why do they ask for it in church?”
My answer is that churches has expenses too. You can’t pay the bills with canned goods, fruits and sheep.
Our second need is about our personal needs.
The second part of Malachi 3:10 it says,
” …if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
When we give our offering to the church, God is ready to return it several times more through blessings.
God is so generous that He already gave us what we need to live, both believers and non-believers. So what makes you think that He will not give more to those who are willing to give?
In the New Testament, our Lord Jesus was observing the offering inside the church and He noticed one thing that impressed Him that He can’t help but mention it with His disciples.
“As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” – Luke 21:1-4
And the second reason why we’re offering to the church is to impress Him with our faith.
The Bible says,
“But without faith it is impossible to please him… “ – Hebrews 11:6
So what does faith has anything to do with giving or offering?
In the book of Malachi that I mentioned above, God says He will give blessings to those who will give.
So we have to have faith that God will fulfill His promise that He will give us His blessings when we give.
The second form of faith is a bit harder; it is believing that God will provide even if you have nothing left. You will not worry much because you have faith that God will supply all your needs, that He is your provider.
The poor widow that our Lord Jesus mentioned has given all that she has.
And maybe, the Lord was really impressed because He saw her willingness, compares to our attitude whenever we give a tiny part of our money to the church. Remember that the Lord Jesus Christ knows our heart.
This story is no different from the story of Prophet Elijah and the widow in Zarephath in the book of 1 Kings chapter 17.
“And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying,
9 Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.
11 And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.
12 And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.
13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.
14 For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.
15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.
16 And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.”
A little background about this story is that the land of Zarephath is in famine (hunger) and the widow is poor, and has child. She’s ready to die after their last meal but she still gave their last meal to Elijah.
What happened next will surely amaze you…
Nope, this is not your usual clickbait.
After she made a bread from her last resources, God gave her a lifetime supply.
Because of her faith, she and her child were never hungry again.
So it makes me wonder what God gave to the widow that the Lord Jesus saw in the temple. Maybe she found a pot of gold in her house or found a winning lottery ticket on her way home?
If you have faith like this, you will be willing to give to the church.
God loves a cheerful giver.
And you are cheerful because you have faith.
So we give to follow God’s commandment and because we have faith.
But there may still be one question hanging, left unanswered.
The church building may have a need. But if God is the all-powerful God and owns everything, we would He ask from us to maintain His works? Can’t He just make money or gold appear in the offering plate?
If He will make all His churches rich, then more people may be convinced to join the church. Because of His miracle or the manifestation of His power, without any support, people can see that churches can survive and flourish.
But no, He chooses to ask from us. Even from the poor ones.
But may I add something important about this offering thing.
As children of God, we are given so many privileges.
And one of the greatest privileges that God has given us is to be able participate on His works.
For we are God’s fellow workers…
As you can read throughout the Bible, God has done a lot of commandments for His people to work whether it’s for a miracle, healing, teaching or saving His people.
God can do what He needs just by saying a word, and it will happen. But He chose to deal with our stubbornness, fear and doubt so we could participate in His plans.
He has to use Moses to save His people from Egypt.
He has to use the prophets to deliver His messages to His people.
He has to use Mary to deliver our Savior to us.
And now, He wants to use us to save people from sin and eternal death, to deliver His words to the people and introduce our Savior to the unbelievers.
Remember that it all started when He asked Adam to be the caretaker of the earth.
God wants us to be His co-workers, not just watchers.
Next Sunday in church, when you give your offering, if you give at all, would you still feel robbed? Or you’ll feel a lot richer and proud to participate in His great works?