Cheerful Giving

This Sunday marks the conclusion of our Sunday school year. As I reflect on this past year and the challenges presented by Covid 19 I am so grateful for everyone’s flexibility to do whatever was necessary to hold our education classes. For the most part our children’s and youth ministry has not only survived, but in many ways it has also thrived. I thank God for the ways he has protected us and provide for us.

I say “for the most part our ministry has survived” because there has been one area that has seen a significant impact. One significant setback has been in the children’s offering. That’s right, while the adult offering has remained consistently generous, the weekly children’s offering has dropped by a whopping 90 percent!

Friends, the fact that our children’s allowances have been cut back so severely to the point where they almost have nothing left to invest in kingdom ministries creates deep feelings of sadness and concern for me. And I am especially concerned when I think about our parents who have received generous relief payments from the hand of our government. Doesn’t it seem suspicious to you that the government has been sending all kinds of money to our parents, but then our parents are withholding it from their children, so they have little more than a widow’s mite to give as an offering? May it not be so with you and me!!

Okay, so by now you may have guessed I am just kidding. However, the fact that our children’s offering has dropped so low (average $5 per week) has raised some questions. Why do we even take a children’s offering? Would the peer pressure of making the kids bring their offering forward during the worship service increase giving amounts? Where do the children from 4th grade to 12th grade give their gift? At what point does a child shift their giving from the children’s offering to the adult offering? Are parents teaching their children about Biblical stewardship and the joy of giving? And I hope it doesn’t come to this, but should the deacons begin visiting the parents to see why they are withholding a portion of their relief check from their children? ☺

Now, I want to be clear about the intent of this article. Personally, I appreciate the effort Becky puts into finding worthy kingdom causes to invest in, however my point is not to guilt the children into giving more money. And yet I do hope and pray that parents are teaching Biblical stewardship and the joy of giving at a very young age.

Parents, when apprenticing your children in the area of giving, I hope you use the Macedonians as the model. The Apostle Paul tells the story in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 about the generous spirit of the Macedonians even though they had little themselves. Here are a few selected verses. 1 And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people… Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

The vision for our ministry is to apprentice future generations to passionately proclaim and demonstrate the good news of the kingdom and according to these verses, one of the greatest ways you can teach your children how to demonstrate the gospel message is through generous and cheerful giving. May it be so with you and me and our children!! Looks like lots more government relief payments from July through December to invest in the kingdom!

Overflowing with thanks to God, Mike Altena

 

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