Why do we pass the plate?

Why does the church pass the offering plate every Sunday?

It seems like an afterthought in many of the churches I’ve served. Christian Churches serve communion every week then, typically, pass the offering plate afterwards. People talk while the plates are passed; it seems as though there’s not much meditation going on while it’s being collected. I think this is too bad.

Sunday morning worship isn’t just about singing; the whole service is meant to be an act of worship, offering time included. My fear is that offering is nonchalant, not much thought is given to placing our gifts in the plate. This shouldn’t be.

Giving to the church, some call it tithing, should be an act of thanksgiving rather than a mindless tossing of a check or a little cash into the offering plate as it’s passed.

Some people give just to keep the church lights on. They see that the church has to pay its bills so they give as much as they can to keep it going. This is admirable. Every church has expenses to meet and people’s gifts are the way the doors stay open. These people give because they love the church and want to see it succeed and be healthy. Their motivation is honorable and their sacrifices are much needed.

Some have a darker purpose. There are those who give so that they can wield influence. They are quick to make it known that their offerings are instrumental in helping the church stay afloat and, as a result, they should have more of a say in how the church’s resources are spent. This is not so admirable because their gifts always come with strings attached.

There is a higher purpose than either one of these attitudes, however. Giving to the church should be an act of worship through which we give thanks to God for all He has done. We should give out of gratitude for all God’s blessings. We can never, ever repay God for His blessings in our lives. Even if we give every penny we own, we would still owe God a debt we cannot repay. We can, however, express our thankfulness to God by returning a part of what He has given us (no strings attached).

A church’s health is not measured by the size of its budget. It’s measured by the love and devotion of its people. Offerings are meant to be an act of devotion by which we show God gratitude and through which we express our worship to Him.

Offering time, to me, is just as important as singing, prayer, communion, or listening to the Word as it’s preached during our services. It’s important not so that the bills can be paid and certainly not so that influence can be bought. It’s important because God deserves our best. He gave us His best, Jesus. He deserves our best in return.

The next time the offering plate is passed, don’t talk to your neighbor but, instead, say a prayer of thanksgiving. Make it an act of worship to the God who loves you more enough to give His best for you.

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