Sunday, March 19, 2017

Lenten Giving

When I was a boy, it was common practice for the church to give everyone a slotted coin folder.  The plan always included doing without something and putting the money in the folder to make up an Easter offering.  Back then a candy bar cost a nickel and a second nickel would buy a coke.  Gas was around $.30 a gallon so life was definitely different.  Filling up a coin folder was not such a difficult thing.  Nowadays, it would have to be some kind of dollar folder!  But, as can be seen from the remembering, giving has been a Lenten discipline for some for a long time.
Actually, the discipline of giving has been around for what must be forever.  The earliest Bible stories tells stories of the faithful making gifts to God.  The "to God" part often gets lost with today's generation of church goers.  It often feels more like the giving is to the church instead of God.  And, if we are honest, such often seems to be the goal of the church although it would never be stated so bluntly.  The church always manages to cloak every kind of giving inside the framework of giving to God.  Maybe it is, but it often feels differently which may be why many today are hesitant to give.
It is not very exciting to pay the electric bill for the church even though it is a necessary expense. Still, it is true that the church gives us an opportunity to make gifts which enable the work of God in the world around us.  Maybe something different in this Lenten season might rejuvenate our giving.  Continue giving gifts according to what it committed, but consider an additional gift that will be marked by the following. One, completely anonymous.  Two, no waiting around for thanks.  Three, look for a gift involving something other than currency.  Four, ask God to give leading.  Five, expect Him to create a situation for the giving.  And, six, once in the God created giving situation, don't think, just give.  Finally, when it is all said and done, give thanks to God.

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