Parts of Worship: The Contribution
The contribution (also called the "offering") is a part of weekly Christian worship, as given to us through examples and commands in the New Testament. Unfortunately, this part of worship seems to get much less attention than the other acts of worship. And while few would come to worship and intentionally skip the Lord's Supper, through their actions, many people show that they believe the contribution to be an optional part of Sunday morning worship. However, since it is a part of God's will for His people, we should pay more attention to giving, and in this post we will look at the basics of this act of worship.
1. How often should I give?
The Spirit through Paul made it very clear:
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I gave order to the churches of Galatia, so also do ye. Upon the first day of the week let each one of you lay by him in store, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come.(1 Corinthians 16:1-2 ASV)
The scripture does not say "every other first day of the week," but simply "upon the first day of the week." Every week has a Sunday, and that is the day that we are to give! Some find it more convenient to give a larger amount once a month, or every other week, but if you want to follow God's instructions, you will give every Sunday. Plus, if you only give on certain Sundays, you are depriving yourself of worshiping God in one of the ways that He has instructed.
2. Who should give?
Notice verse 2 of the passage we just read:
Upon the first day of the week let each one of you lay by him in store, as he may prosper...(1 Corinthians 16:2)
If you are a Christian with an income, you are included in this command! There is no excuse, especially when you think about all the inconsequential things that we spend money on. If you have children, now is the time to be teaching them to give as well, even if they are not yet Christians. I remember the "money to give to God" box that my parents kept stocked with coins, so that my sister and I would always have something to put in the plate when it was passed around. This is a great way to show your children that giving is very important, both to you and to God.
3. How much should I give?
In some religious circles tithing is encouraged, that is, giving 10% of your income. However, under the New Law there is no mention of tithing, and that specific amount is not required of Christians today. Now, you can respond to this in one of two ways:
- God doesn't require 10%, so I can get away with giving less!
- God doesn't require 10%, so I have the privilege to give more!
I think you can probably tell which one of those attitudes is more noble in the sight of God. Also, talking about the money that the Corinthian Christians were going to give, Paul called it a "bounty," as he knew it would be very generous. Let us give more to the Lord's church, knowing that it is the most important cause in this world!
4. What kind of attitude should I have?
God cares about our attitude, and when it comes to the contribution, it is no different. Notice the descriptive words in 1 Corinthians 9:7:
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
If you don't want to give, but you do it anyway because you feel like you have to, then God doesn't want your money! God is not pleased with that attitude, but rather wants us to be cheerful givers, excited that we can be a part of the Lord's work. Also notice the phrase "as he purposeth in his heart". Giving is an intentional act that we are to put some thought into beforehand. Don't wait till you see the plate coming towards you to peek in your wallet and see what's left. Plan before you even come how much you are going to give, and give as you have already purposed in your heart.
Of course there is much more that could be said about this act of worship, but I hope these things have been helpful to you, and have encouraged you to do your best as you present yourself to God in this way.
Read more on this subject: God's Perfect Plan for Church Finance