She shuffled with her walker up to the offering basket with a handful of $1 bills, a smile beaming across her face, as she made her way forward with a gift to her Lord. Old age and a back brace got in the way, and only a couple of the bills made it to the basket, with the rest hitting the floor a couple feet short. As she struggled to retrieve them off the floor, I quickly jumped up and helped her, and once all the offering was finally in the proper place, she turned and made her way back to her seat.
It was a fairly ordinary moment by some standards….just an elderly lady dropping a few dollars in the offering plate. But, for me it was one of the most beautiful acts of worship I had seen in a long time. You see, Rose and her husband were in church for the very first time in a long time. Their health was bad, getting out was an ordeal, you know the drill. But that Sunday…and every Sunday since, Bob and Rose have been in church with broken bodies and grateful hearts.
Why? Simply because they had experienced the grace of Jesus once again through people who bear the name “Christian”. We came across Bob and Rose through a local assistance ministry who were concerned that they may no longer be able to live on their own. Their home was in disrepair, the septic tank was backing up, and they were having a difficult time caring for themselves.
One Saturday workday later, many of the glaring physical problems were taken care of by a servant minded crew from LifeBridge. Since then, others have brought them meals, taken them to appointments, and just kept tabs on them to make sure they are doing OK.
All this is what made the offering that day such a beautiful moment. Her gift was given with great joy, not because she had to, but because she had experienced again the wonderful provision of God through His people. There are so many beautiful lessons in what I saw that day.
— Giving is a response to the outrageous generosity that God first shows us through Christ and then also through his people.
— One of the lessons God wants to teach us by having us give the FIRST portion of our income (rather than the last) is that He is going to take care of us. Things got difficult for Bob and Rose…but God planned all along to take care of them and bless them through us. By making our first check each month out to God, it is a statement of faith and trust that He is going to provide for all of our needs.
— Joy. The Bible tells us that our giving ought to be done with joy, not because we feel forced or guilty. When we remember all that God has done for us….well, our faces should look just like Rose’s did that day as she brought her gift to God.
I pray that our lives are continually marked by outrageous generosity, so that others might experience through us the radical grace of our Lord Jesus.