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 ~Offerings ~

             Thoughts to Ponder                        



  Does the Church ask for money?   Most definitely--and it shouldnít cause us to be ashamed or embarrassed.  Instead, we need to understand why the Church needs money and asks boldly for it.

Consider the dentist, grocer, or plumber.  They all ask for money in return for something they give us or do for us.  God is different.  The blessings he gives us are free.  Romans 3:24 reminds us:  (We)  are justified freely by (Godís)  grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  When Jesus sent out His disciples to preach, heal, and raise the dead, He did not want them to charge for Godís blessings.  Jesus said, Freely you have received, freely give (Matthew  10:8).  So why does the church ask for money?

The answer can be found as Jesus further instructs His disciples.   Jesus tells them not to take gold or silver or extra provisions with them.  Their needs were to be supplied by those receiving the blessings for the worker is worth his keep.  (Matthew 10:10) Godís blessings of salvation are free.  They were purchased ďnot with gold or silver but with Christís holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and deathĒ (Lutherís Small Catechism, 2nd Art.).  Godís blessings are free, however, it is the job of the Church to distribute these free blessings as she makes disciples, teaches, and baptizes.  While the blessings may be free, the workers need to be sent  and cared for, houses of worship built and maintained, Bibles printed and distributed, and the poor clothed and fed.

As long as there are people who need to hear the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ,  we can be glad our Church asks for money!

WHERE SHOULD I GIVE? The mail arrives at the door and there they are again--letter after letter asking for a contribution. For the most part they are all worthy organizations in need of assistance--weíd like to support them all, but we canít--how do we decide? Do we choose the mission program of our Synod, the radio ministry of our church, the cancer society, the lung association? "Where should I give?" is a question we may wrestle with, as so many worthy causes beg for our support. Obviously we cannot give to everyone who asks. Choices have to be made. From Bible stories like the Good Samaritan (Luke 10), we know that God wants us to care about everyone including our enemies. In fact, God Himself showed the greatest care for all people when He sent His Son, Jesus, as the Savior of the world.

We also see, however, that Jesus had to make choices. Because limitations of time and space did not permit the disciples to go everywhere at once preaching the Gospel, Jesus sent them first to "the lost sheep of Israel" (Matthew 10:6).

Like a rock thrown into a quiet pond sending out ripples in the water, giving can most easily begin with our local church family to those in need who are closest to us. We might then expand our giving in our community, to groups in our District and Synod and then on to other charities we may know less about. We need to remember, however, that wherever we decide to give we do it in a spirit of joy and gratitude to God for all He has given us. "Freely you have received, freely give." (Matthew 10:8) From Discipleship Commission.

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