Monday, April 09, 2007

Stewardship Thought

Stewardship as a topic creates immediate reactions, usually defensive and negative. Worshipers ask me if the tithe "has" to go to the local church, and if so where is that in scripture? I answer that it does not "need" to go totally to the local church because scripture has a wide range of instructions how to give how much where. Worshipers ask me if it's OK for them to split their tithe among various ministries and missions they have commitments to? I again say "yes" God's work in the world is much wider than any one church or one denomination.
But yesterday, a woman came up to me excited (yes, actually excited) about the quote I used in worship just before the offering and what I said. The quote came from an anonymous source: "One can give without loving but one cannot love without giving." And what I said to the congregation was 2 truths for me: (1) I give away a lot of money without much love: fines, fees, taxes, bills, and supplies. They are legitimate and necessary expenses, but I have no love for the cable company. (2) But those whom I love, I MUST give to. I cannot travel without thinking of bringing something back to Martha (or when we go together to bring back to the kids). I love surprising Martha with an unexpected gift. In fact, I never buy flowers for her when we shop together, letting her choose the type and colors. I like to bring them home spontaneously...because I love her. Then I asked the congregation to let their giving today be a love response to God. Give only as much as you love, no more and no less.
This woman told me she never thought about offerings as a love-response. It was always missional and dutiful, an obligation pledged to do. She said she came to worship so in love with God, she emptied out her purse and wallet, giving God all she had, beaming with joy. This is not a crack-pot person, but a respected professional.
Here is the thought: the local church in worshiping together gives people the occaison to love God back. We don't always do that alone. Corporate worship, with music and testimonies, prayer and sharing helps me remember how much in love I am with God....and I have to give!


At 12:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

YES! YES! What a wonderful way to spark enthusiasm for giving - a LOVE offering. Would you consider submitting this as a article for the stewardship page of the Cov website? And yes, I'm shameless about soliciting new material....:-) Great stuff, Don! Let me know... Carolyn

At 4:55 PM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

Sure, thanks!

At 4:56 PM , Anonymous tithe said...

I heard that quote before but i don't know where. "you can give without loving but you can't love without giving." It's a good quote and something to think about when we are preparing our offering to give to God. http://churchtithesandofferings.com

At 1:14 PM , Blogger Rock in the Grass said...

Thank you for the idea. I trust that you do not mind me borrowing it for Sunday

At 5:35 PM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

Absolutely...all I ever used is borrowed from somewhere/someone else.


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