The Scriptures are full of stories of God’s people giving special offerings. Solomon built a spectacular temple for worship and then had to tell people not to give anymore because there was more than enough. Paul challenged the young New Testament church to sacrificially give to the Jerusalem church that was suffering. For years, Pam and I have been blessed to be a part of numerous special offerings that went toward buildings, land, planting churches and opening orphanages around the world.
This Sunday, our congregation will give a special offering to Move the Mountain in all of our Sunday gatherings. How should we pray and how should we give when these special offerings come along in our spiritual journey?
1. We should pray and listen.
I know this sounds obvious, but most of us determine what we can logically give and then we pray about it later. However, if we pray and listen first, the answer may surprise us. There have been times, I have heard to give a smaller amount, but there have also been times Pam and I have given sacfricially. Pray first, listen and then obey.
2. Know why you are giving.
Giving is more than a corporate collection of resources. It is the catalyst many times for significant spiritual growth. Giving is a pronouncement that money is a gift from God, but not our god. Money seems to entangle us in a web of greed and control, but when we release our monies, by faith, our spiritual souls are cleansed from a potentially powerful idol. Pam and I give as an act of worship and to remind ourselves what is truly worthy of our worship.
For our New Life congregation we are giving to get out of debt so we can give more generously to our city and to our world. We believe debt really is a type of slavery that keeps us shackled and unable to respond to the real needs all around us.
Last year, we paid off $3.3 million of debt which allowed us to begin the purchase and renovation of our first apartment complex for homeless single moms, to expand our care for the poorest women in our city at the Dream Center Women’s Clinic and we just added a military chaplain to our team to help us care for the miltary families in our city. All of this because our congregation prayed, listened and obeyed with generous giving.