The Shape of Worship 8: The Offering

For Meditation

If you were a complete newcomer to a church service and observed the Offering time, you might be led to think that some kind of monetary transaction is happening in which people are paying for the goods and services of the church. In reality, that may not be too far from the truth of what many Christian think about the offering. But like everything we do in worship, the offering is a profoundly intentional act that is meant to shape us week by week as the people of God.

This week, we’ll look at three specific ways the offering shapes us: first, it reminds us that we are Stewards, not Owners, and that everything we have belongs to God. Second, it reminds us that we are partners, not consumers. We are not individuals paying for personal goods, but we a family bound together in Christ who are now called to share what we have for a common mission. Third, the offering reminds us that we are givers, not hoarders. The offering is an act of gratitude for all that God has done for us Jesus. We give generously not out of guilt or fear, but in thanksgiving for all that God has done for us. In this way, the offering is not a time we stop in the middle of the service to pay the bills. It is every bit as much an act of worship as our singing, as we respond with all that we have in gratitude for God’s work of salvation.

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Psalm 50:7-15, ESV 

7 “Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God.

8  Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you; your burnt offerings are continually before me.

9  I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds.

10  For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.

11  I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.

12  “If I were hungry, I would not tell you,  for the world and its fullness are mine.

13  Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?

14  Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High,

15  and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

2 Cor 9:6-15, ESV

6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9 As it is written,“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
11 You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13 By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others,
14 while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!