For O is for Offering (#AtoZChallenge) I was able to find this joke I heard a long time ago on the site for the Institute of Islamic Christian and Jewish studies.
A rabbi, a priest, and a minister are discussing what they do with the money from the collection plate.
The priest says that he draws a circle on the floor, throws the money up in the air, and whatever lands in the circle, he gives to God; whatever lands outside the circle, he keeps.”
The minister explains that he has a very similar method: He draws a circle on the floor, throws the money up in the air, and whatever lands outside the circle he gives to God, whereas whatever lands inside the circle he keeps.
“I, too, have a system,” the rabbi says. “I throw the money up in the air, and whatever God catches, He can keep.”
I can’t help but smile. Actually there are several types of offerings in God’s word.
There are two scriptures that strike home the most with me regarding Offerings.
“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.(Malachi 3:8 NASB)
Stealing is bad enough, but for me to think I steal from God is awful. However, I’ve heard Christian people say that this is an Old Testament teaching that doesn’t apply now. I cringe at that. There are at least 18 verses in the New Testament about offerings including giving sacrificially (the widow in Mark 12 and Luke 21), giving richly (alabaster bottle of perfume in Mark 14), selling what you have to give (Acts 4:36-37), and supporting workers doing kingdom work (3 John 8).
In the Old Testament there was the hope for the coming Savior, the faith that Christ would come. Does it make sense for me, a person who has seen that hope come to pass, who has the Spirit every day, to give less than the faithful from days of old?
It’s not just a 10% and I’ve checked the box kinda thing to me. The examples in the Bible include contributions to build the place of worship, atonement money, precious metals, building supplies, freewill offerings, guilt offerings, sin offerings, peace offerings, grain offerings, burnt offerings, thank offerings.
They gave so much in Exodus 36:5-6 that the Lord told Moses to stop them! Enough was in hand to complete what needed to be done at that time.
The second verse that strikes me is this:
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV)
Other verses support this focus on being willing to give. “Take from among you a contribution to the Lord; whoever is of a willing heart…” (Exodus 35:5 NASB) “Everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came and brought the Lord’s contribution…” (Exodus 35:21). Offerings are both commanded (e.g. Deuteronomy 12:11) and of the heart. These can walk hand-in-hand.
Blessed with a paycheck? Give joyously. We are getting a tax return this year. A thank offering is in order. A new child was added to our family, and we saw that as a time to give. Did you hear of someone working for others needs? Maybe you felt the stirring, the move to give to cancer treatment, an education center in Africa, an orphanage, or perhaps it was closer to home like a family trying to adopt. Maybe the gift on your heart today isn’t money but second-hand clothes to help, time to volunteer, crossing the street with your mower to support a neighbor in hard times.
Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you.” (Deuteronomy 16:17 NASB)
I truly believe when we answer those stirrings inside to give, we answer a call from God.