"Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9:74
Last month we explored how we are entrusted with all that we have and our very lives to be lived for our Lord. We have been so blessed to give back our praise and thanks in all we say and do. That certainly includes our worship! In the Liturgy the portion of our service that begins the Service of the Sacrament is called the Offertory.
The Offertory was anciently a chant of a psalm sung by all who were present. In the service today we sing together at the time of the Offertory, “Create in me a clean heart oh God” taken from Psalm 51. On Wednesday evenings we have been speaking together the ancient Offertory psalms that were appointed for midweek services. As we worship at the time of Offertory we rise as an act of faith. We offer to our Lord what we have with all we are because of his offering of all! This time in the service is a sacrifice of thanksgiving for the sacrifice of our Lord’s life!
In the ancient church the Offertory was a time to bring forth gifts to be blessed and used for God’s service. As we bring forth to the altar our monetary gifts, we are ultimately giving back of ourselves. And we do this cheerfully! I have shared before that at St. John we give back to our District, the Synod and in other ways locally. We also do this individually as members with our congregational giving.
Our budget needs are not always or entirely being met by our weekly offering and this can be a concern…Our stewardship weekend will take place on November 19th and 20th. This time of year calls to our remembrance the privilege and responsibility of our giving. Of course we give not to a church or to a cause but to our God! Scripture says that “God loves a cheerful giver.” Thank you for your gift of faith as we offer to the Lord the gift of our lives!
St. Paul once said that the life we now live in the flesh, we live by faith in the Son of God who loved us. We give back; indeed we give and live in all we are for all that he is! Yes, God loves a cheerful giver. God loves the creative gift that he made you to be! So let us give cheerfully in response and live fully for the Lord who firstly gave himself for us!