“Kids, what are the three things you can do with money?”
“We can save it or we can spend it or we can give it,” my kids dutifully answer. Because that's what I've told them to say. Not that I'm under any illusions that they really understand as youngsters what this means. But at least they can say the words. It’s a start.
When we think about these three activities - saving, spending, and giving - it’s interesting to consider how they are all connected. They form a harmony, an ebb and flow at the intersection of our economic and spiritual lives. Put differently, they form three corners of a triangle that shapes us. Mindful, intentional giving really does make it possible for us to enjoy the other two activities that money affords us. Without the counterbalance of thoughtful giving, all of our saving and spending will not be particularly satisfying. Nor will we be faithful Kingdom builders. It seems to me that this is the way we were created. We were created to be in community, and to be givers. Giving really does make us fuller image bearers of our Creator.
As we think more about the activity of giving, there is no better place for us to start than in a worshipping community. Our little flock has recently incorporated an offering time more deliberately into the worship service. And in these early weeks it has been a little awkward weaving into our service something that was not so prominent before. But we will get the kinks resolved; and to the extent that it is different—leading our children to ask about it, or compelling us to think about it—we are on the whole improved.
It is a good thing to reconsider what we believe about giving, spending and saving… and what we do about them. I'm hopeful that we as a congregation will find ourselves strengthened by our new practice of giving during the worship service. Because we are prone to weakness. Not so much by unvarnished disobedience, but by afterthought. We know Jesus’ familiar warnings about overspending (Matt. 6:19-21) and even the danger of unwise saving (Luke 12:13-21). But faithful giving He commends. As we listen in on his observation of the widow’s mite we learn the economics of the Kingdom. Faithfulness is the currency of the realm. I pray that my kids will one day teach this to their children. But for now, each Sunday we get a new opportunity to practice it.
How have you and your family processed the first few weeks of passing offertory plates during services? What questions or new ideas have you been confronted with? Share with others by leaving a comment below...