This one gets a bit wired at first! But keep going… it’ll get to the point about 2 thirds down!
If you come to our church here in Merced, there are a number of offerings you will be presented with the opportunity to give to.
Sabbath School mission offering.
The latest Zest mission project.
Once a month there will be a Conference project to give to.
Plus the traditional birthday offering.
Good Samaritan offering at the end of communion
Plus we'll collect your tithe to send to the conference too.
Then... if you go on-line we've the added following projects you are invited to give to - like these various Conference projects:
Conference Evangelism - General Fund
Conference Evangelism - Pledge Payment
Life Hope Center
Camp Meeting Expense
Capital Campaign Unrestricted
Capital Campaign Soquel Improvements
Capital Campaign Camp Wawona
Capital Campaign Camp Wawona Medical Building
Capital Campaign Camp Wawona Chapel
Capital Campaign Camp Wawona Dining Hall
Impact Pacific Union
Then you can also give to these various World Church projects:
Adventist Community Services (ACS) - Hurricane Relief
Hope for Humanity (Ingathering)
Sabbath School - Investment
Adventist World Radio (AWR)
Christian Record Services for the Blind
Disaster and Famine Relief
Loma Linda University
Faith For Today
Camp Meeting Mission
Africa - Bibles
Africa - Church Roofs
AID Africa - Indian Ocean Division
USSR - Svetlofodsk
Ukraine - Pastors (Adopt-a-Pastor)
Euro-Asia Division (ESD)
Euro-Africa Division (EUD)
Bibles for Wales
Plus there are many Adventist independent ministries vying for your giving dollar too.
Have I made my point without going into any more details? (that's 52 if you wanted to count).
----> START HERE - if that list made you slightly nauseous!
Churches have a myriad of ways for you to give. Mostly to support ministries of the Church. In Bible times there were some similarities and some differences regarding offerings.
First there was still the tithe - and this was to support the work of God though the Levites. After that the offerings, or sacrifices, were all about your relationship with God. And there were a few...
The Sin offering
The Guilt offering
The Burnt offering
The Grain offering
The Peace offering
And it's this last one that we come across in Leviticus 3. The Peace offering has no agenda, other than you just wanting to give to God. Not at a specific time either - just when you wanted to. Like a friend would just want to do something nice for someone they liked, or wanted to stay connected to. Plus after you'd sacrificed the animal, you could take it home and eat it with your family.
And the Bible says here that God liked this... it says in verse 5 that the smell of this sacrifice made God happy. He liked the attention.
So how do we make God feel like this today? What should we do in our current situation to bring something beautiful to him - for the sacrifice system talked boat here is long gone. You know... what with Jesus having made the real sacrifice.
In Matthew 25 Jesus says that when we treat other people, people he loves, with love and compassion, it is like we are treating him in this way. So when we are nice to people, when we hold the door for others, when we are kind, when we stand up for those with no voice in this world... etc etc etc... we are doing it for God.
We skip the religion, the fundraising, the agendas, and give directly to God. And just as the smell of the peace offering was pleasing to God, so is our giving and kindness to others.
Not that there is nothing wrong doing the collective thing with money through our churches. But if you feel like you are losing sight of the point of all the systematic/institutional giving... and you feel like church and business has got a bit too mixed - remember that when you love and support those who God loves, you are loving on God directly.
And it's really nice to do!