Aunt Sudie's money box with note "This is my Lord's money" from early 1950's...
Through Jesus’ work on our behalf, we are recipients of the astonishing favor of God.
There is not a thing we can do to give God what He already owns. Yet paradoxically, we can give to God our worship in gratitude and thanksgiving, casting all our neediness upon Him and this pleases Him. This is the way we give glory o the already All-Glorious One.
Our worship is a continual act- we pray without ceasing, we praise without ceasing, we serve without ceasing, we work without ceasing, and we give without ceasing. I continually attempt to encourage my doctoral students that just as we do all things as unto the Lord, their work at seminary can and should be an act of worship. Colossians 3:17, 23-24 and 1 Corinthians 10:31 speak clearly to this reality.
Giving of money can become transactional, if one treats it like paying bills we owe. I once heard Chuck Colson and John Piper have an exchange about the difference in duty and delight, and it has stuck with me all these years after that Ligonier Conference- Grace upon Grace. Worship is given to the Lord, but we live beneath our privilege if we fail to DELIGHT in the rendering of it.
One of the places where this privilege of delight has been neglected is in the act of giving a monetary offering. I won’t get into the debate over tithing versus grace giving here, but Christians often fail to pray over that check they write and render up on Sunday morning and apprehend it as something holy and deeply meaningful. I have been guilty at times in the past of this and was deeply convicted of it. As a result, the rendering my offering has become a key act in my life of worship.
But this is not just about whether one gives or not, nor about how much one gives. Billy Graham was credited with saying “Give me five minutes with a person's checkbook, and I will tell you where their heart is.” I get the general principle, but not all such giving is “of the heart.” What I am speaking of is something different- the heart of worship behind the giving.
There is great danger in the kind of giving that divorces itself from worship. To extend that thought, treating our overall stewardship of finances as something less than an act of worship is a losing proposition for believers- God does not NEED our offerings, but we NEED to enjoy the delight of giving sacrificially and generously, both in the local body of Christ and to the Kingdom in general.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7: "Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver."
So I hope more than ever, believers will discover the joy and delight of worshipping God in all they do.