Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Taking The Offering


I was at church today and people were putting money at the alter as the Preacher was preaching. Why do they do this? What is this based off of in the Bible?


Having the offering placed personally at the altar by the worshiper is a church custom that, surprisingly to me, has a basis in Scripture. Placing the offering at the altar while the preacher is preaching is something I am not familiar with.

Matthew 5:23(ESV) "23 So if you are ***offering your gift at the altar*** and there remember that your brother has something against you,"

Matthew 23:18(ESV) "18And you say, 'If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by ***the gift that is on the altar,*** he is bound by his oath.'"

A preacher friend of mine from a Pentecostal tradition said he always had the people bring the tithes and offerings to the altar since this way is described in Scripture. Tradition dictates much of what we do as we worship in church. But what if you are in a mega-church with thousands in attendance? Is there really time to have everyone who gives financially walk in front of the altar? Many church services have the plate passed with the money placed on the altar.

In the large Baptist Church I grew up in, we passed the plate in a systematic way. We used a combination of young men mixed with older men of the church. The collected money was bagged up and deposited in the bank after counting. The head ushers were always rumored to be then headed to Shoney's for coffee after the deposit. Function of a a way a church does things does not mean it is biblically sanctioned.

I do not want to speculate why anyone would make a monetary gift during preaching.

Here is a question. What is the altar? We hear about the altar calls and coming to the altar rail to kneel where some churches take communion up front by the pulpit. My understanding is that the altar is the table the elements, grape juice and bread, are placed on for the Lord's Supper. This is where we remember the sacrifice of the body and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is remembered and memorialized.

I do not want to speculate why anyone would make a monetary gift during preaching.
God can not be bought off. We give as our duty. God rewards as we see fit and He does reward obedience. Humbleness is always a virtue described in Scripture as a trait the Lord esteems. I do not see how He sanctions "During preaching paying."

Honor God in your worship which our gifts are part of. We can never thank and honor Him enough. We give for His glory because of the life, death, burial and Resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. By His grace Christ died and took the wrath of God intended for me and poured it out on Jesus Christ at Calvary (The cross). God declares a wretch like me righteous. Christians receive forgiveness from God, the righteousness of Christ in God's eyes, eternal life in eternity in his presence and escape from the wrath to come. There is no payment for that. Our salvation demands worship not payment.

Matthew 23:17-19(ESV) "17You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? 18And you say, 'If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.' 19You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? "

No comments:

Post a Comment