Why Do We Do What We Do in Worship? #7 - The Giving of Gifts and Offerings
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.
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.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Just as the gospel shapes the individual life of a Christian, it should also fashion the corporate life and worship of the church. And because we are prone to forget the good news of the gospel, corporate public worship should be structured to bring the gospel to our attention each and every week.
Of all the elements in our order of worship there is one in particular that demonstrates the reality that the gospel does not allow us to remain unchanged. The good news of what Jesus Christ has done for us in our place and on our behalf does not leave us where we once were; rather it moves us forward in increasing gratitude and obedience to God. This one element is our worship of God through the giving of our gifts and offerings.
In response to who God is and what He has done for us in Christ, we return to Him a portion of what we have received from Him, and in doing so we acknowledge that God is the source of all that we have and we confess the truth that we are not owners but rather caretakers of all that has been entrusted to us. Indeed, the earth is the Lord’s and everything and everyone in it (Psalm 24:1).
When it comes to a discussion of giving, this question is almost always asked: “Is a Christian required to give at the level of the tithe (ten percent) as was the case with God’s people in the Old Testament?” In a word, the answer is no. Why? Because just as the New Covenant far exceeds the Old Covenant in its benefits and blessings, so also Christian stewardship far exceeds giving only ten percent of your income to the Lord. The Christian understands that everything he or she is and has belongs to God. And so here’s the question that should be asked: “Because I and all that I have belong to God, what should I keep in order to provide for my and my family’s needs?”
Giving to God through the church supports the ongoing expansion of the kingdom of God, the steady growth of the church, and the ministry of the life-saving and life-changing work of the gospel locally and around the world. In particular, the gifts received by the church are used to meet the expenses of the church as an organization as well as to care for those in the church who find themselves in need. The giving of gifts and offerings in the public corporate worship of the church is the exposure of grateful hearts by generous hands.
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