Cuthbert United Methodist Church
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

THE OFFERING

One of the most ancient worship practices that Christians observe is the Offering.  In the Hebrew Testament, bread, crops, animals/birds, drink, and money would be offered or sacrificed to worship God and/or make restitution for sin.  In Genesis, Cain and Abel were named as the first to make an offering to God.  Throughout the Bible, emphasis is clear that the heart’s integrity, priorities, and generosity are valued over the size/expense of the actual gift.   As Christians, we understand that Christ offered the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf, “once, for all,” so that our motivation in giving can be a response to God’s loving faithfulness toward us.  We return our lives in service to God, as a living sacrifice (Ro. 12:1).
 
The word offering implies something freely given, something presented as a token of dedication or devotion.  Everything we have and are is from God, and we acknowledge this by returning a portion (time, talents, gifts and service) back to the Giver.  The Offering is not a brief break to take up a “collection” to defray costs, with some musical entertainment!  Rather, it is an important act of worship, our vital response to God and God’s word.  It is a way to connect our adoration for God with our life of discipleship.  Musicians may offer their musical gifts while the rest of the congregation offers monetary gifts. Even if your offering to the church is given through automatic withdrawal, passing the plate reminds us to center our lives in thankful service to God.  Singing the Doxology at the Offering is the traditional way of affirming the source and recipient of the gifts.  The Offertory Prayer offers up our gifts as a sign of a larger commitment to serve God in the world, and asks for God to bless the gifts for sharing Christ’s love and building the kingdom of God. 
 
There are several important scriptures to keep in mind as you give:  
1) God loves a cheerful giver.  (2 Corinthians 9:7)
2) Offering reminds us to put God first in our hearts. (Matthew 6: 19-20)
3) The level of personal sacrifice matters (Widow’s mite). (Luke 21: 1-4)
4)  God wants more than 10%, God wants 100% of our heart, soul, mind and strength! (Matt. 22:37)