Putting money is the offering plate can be a difficult thing for many people to do. It isn’t easy to part with money, when we have so many needs and wants in life. Giving regularly often begins with letting go and trusting. Even if our hearts aren’t totally into it, God then often blesses us, and encourages our faith. Ultimately, giving should be about worship (read the excerpt at the bottom), but God meets us where we are. I think this short transparent testimony that was emailed to me demonstrates this quite well.
“The first time I paid tithe, I tossed a small check of $25 in the offering plate. My face immediately turned beet red. I was a FOOL! I watched my check get further away as it slowly flowed away. As the offering plate was passing in the next row BEHIND me I nearly fainted. I wanted MY money back. What was I thinking…giving good money away. I cringed but refrained from dipping my hand into the plate and removing my check. As a new Christian I heard of “being blessed” when tithing but I was a skeptic. That week a three figure check showed up in the mail. It was an unexpected “refund” from Uncle Sam. I knew it was a mistake so I mailed it back. Not long after…it was again returned with a letter telling me it was mine. I sent it back. Again it returned, I CASHED IT! I chalked it up as being “blessed by the IRS”. Decades later I have been financially blessed many times over because of my faithfulness to paying tithe even when I felt that I couldn’t “afford” to.” – anonymous
From the NIV Stewardship Study Bible:
“Many people seem to think that the reason we have an offering during the Sunday morning service is because the church needs to pay its bills and also wants to do good things with the money that is collected. Your church does need to pay its bills, and it probably does do good things with the money you put in the offering plate … but that is not why we have an offering during the Sunday morning service.
The offering is an act of worship, an instance in which we are invited to give up something that we value—our money—as a sacrifice to God. In many ways, it is the high point of the liturgy. We come to church to worship God and at no other point in the service are we provided with so pure an opportunity for worship as this …
We are invited to put money in the offering plate on Sunday morning not because the church needs our money but because we want and need to give it. We have a spiritual need to worship God, and through our offerings we are able to express our love and devotion for God in a way that is simple and sincere. The motivation of the giver is what counts most, not the size of the gift or the degree of benefit to the recipient (see Mk 12:42–44). The good news of stewardship is that church offerings are not fund-raising rituals but acts of worship in which we are invited to express our heartfelt devotion to the God who is so good to us.” -Powell, Mark A. NIV Stewardship Study Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009. Print, page 1614.