“Giving Through The Church”
by Buff Scott
Contemporary church leaders or the “powers that be” would like to convince us, and indeed are always trying, that the only way to glorify God in our giving is to drop our greenbacks and checks into the church’s collection plate when it makes its rounds. And why do they strive so desperately hard to indoctrinate us with that bit of ecclesiastical hogwash? There are two chief reasons:
Without our dollars in the collection plate, those behind the pulpit would be forced to find another job.
Upkeep of the edifice idol or “House of God.”
Of special interest is that the early believers contributed of their income for two primary reasons. a] To alleviate the needs of the destitute; and b] To support evangelists or workers in the field who labored to spread the Good News to the unsaved.
A third or non-primary reason that may be considered includes Elders or Shepherds whose time is consumed by leading the sheep and teaching the word. Paul told Timothy, “Let the elders who rule [preside] well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor [toil] in the word and teaching (I Tim. 5:17].
“Rule” in this passage is best rendered “preside,” for our Lord taught that no one in the grace era is to rule over another. Too, some versions say, “…who labor in preaching and teaching.” However, “preaching” is not a desirable translation unless the Shepherd [Elder] is also evangelizing while caring for his sheep.
If he is not preaching to the unsaved as part of his function, he certainly cannot “preach” to saints, for “preach” or “preaching” is always aligned with or related to evangelism. Saints can be taught, encouraged, led, built up, and edified, but not preached to. They were preached to when they were first exposed to the Good News and believed it and acceded to its message.
But getting back to the collection plate, there were no material structures to build and maintain, and no ecclesiastical elitists to support. Money was collected only when a need arose. In today’s pattern, a collection plate is passed around about every time we cross our legs.
Believers are free to support any good cause at any time, in or out of the corporate assembly. I contribute to needy causes that are not even related to “church activities.” And the causes I support are far more relevant than the institutional church’s materialistic and ecclesiastical budget.