I’m sure you expected me to say that; after all, I am a “megachurch” pastor—and it’s really easy to take shots at guys like me when we talk about money.
However, I wanted to introduce a thought today and see if it might resonate with anyone.
Have you ever met someone who tries to throw in a super spiritual comment in the middle of a conversation in order to appear more “holy”?
For example, you may say in a crowd, “I was on Facebook last night and connected with an old friend.” And the other person says to you, “I had my face in THE BOOK last night and connected with God!” (This is also known as a “Jesus Juke”!)
Or you say, “I am on level 200 on Candy Crush and finally was able to win and move on to the next level,” and THEY say, “Every time I pick up my phone, I open up my Bible app, and I always win and go to the next level in my walk with Jesus!”
Let’s be honest right here … I mean, being totally honest—no one likes this person.
I think we are all agreeing at this point … which brings me back to the offering.
One of the easiest ways to NOT deal with this (because it’s most likely going on in our own hearts) is to be as condescending as we can as quickly as possible.
So, for years, people in church (and people outside the church) have taken shots at churches taking up an offering because, after all, we REALLY sound spiritual when we criticize something that we feel others might possibly agree with.
But hold on … before we say the church is BAD for taking an offering, let’s think through a few other things as well.
If you have ever been to a college or pro football game—they take “an offering”! In fact, you have to pay before THAT “church service” even begins. (Sometimes the “services” are good, sometimes not so good … but people still pay money to be there.)
If you have ever been to a concert, you “gave an offering.” Concert tickets and experiences are at an all time high, and no one is sitting in the concert angry and complaining out loud that “the only reason they are doing this is because they want my money!”
Anytime we go to see a movie or watch a play at the theater they take “an offering.”
In fact, if we want to get REALLY serious …
Starbucks just wants your money.
Apple just wants your money.
Target just wants your money.
The American Girl Doll store just wants your money.
And yet very few people complain about those places because, well … we tend to not complain about giving money to things we truly value or worship.
(Might want to go back and read that last sentence again!)
So, when it comes to taking an offering at church, I am genuinely excited for numerous reasons:
1. I realize that everything I have is a gift from God (Deuteronomy 8:18) and the offering is a time where I have the privilege of giving back to Him a portion of what He has already blessed me with.
2. I believe what Jesus said in Matthew 6:24 about money being the #1 competitor for my heart, and the offering is a time when I can tangibly say, “Jesus IS Lord!”
3. I believe there is not a better investment on the planet than the local church!
4. I realize that when I give money to something, my heart will always follow it (sort of like what Jesus said in Matthew 6:21).
So, consider this—the next time a person complains about the church taking an offering or asking for money, it is most likely an indictment in regard to their own heart that they are trying to deflect on the church by appearing to sound spiritually superior by criticizing something that Scripture clearly instructs us to do.
I love taking the offering! And … I love GIVING. For me, it’s not an OBLIGATION but rather an OPPORTUNITY!