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How passing the plate becomes the 'Sunday morning stickup' (general)

posted by fezik82(R), Ohio, 06.16.2015

When Christ saw the rich men putting their gifts into the treasury and the poor widow who offered her last two mites, He said that all of them "out of their abundance have put in offerings for God" (Luke 21:1-4). Note, "for God".

I remember my Church putting 2 Corinthians 9:5-8 on an offering envelope... I was kind of taken back at first, I thought that it was a cunning way to get us to give. The passage says:

So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given. Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Once I thought about it, though, I felt silly concerning myself with bad feelings because they attached this passage. This passage was written to the Church at Corinth, the newest Church at the time... there is no doubt that Paul was teaching them just as he had taught the other churches... what got me most was "God loves a cheerful giver"! It sounded manipulative, but was Paul trying to manipulate this Church? Certainly not. He was reminding them of their Christian duty to the Church and to the poor. In his first letter to the Corinthians, he told them to set aside all that they could afford on the first day of the week (Sunday). Paul was going to come and collect the money himself, and then send the people who he approved to carry their gift to Jerusalem where the Christians were very poor.

I know that some denominations consider weekly offerings to be a continuance of Old Testament tithes, but I believe that (like many other Church traditions) the tithes were only the shadow of the reality. They gave out of obligation (like the rich men) today most give out of compassion (like the widow with her last two mites).. and Paul made sure that it was understood that the offering was no more than your heart and finances could allow.

---
I asked The Lord how much He loved me

He stretched out His arms and said, "this much"

Then He died for me

 


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