Tithing and sacrificial giving were the last strongholds to come down in my life as a new Christian. I did that, “there they go again” rolling of my eyes every time it came up. All they want is my money. I DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY!!! We were 21 with two small kids and financially over extended. Guys like me are going to walk into your church every Sunday. What are you going to say to them? The very people we seek to reach are those who are most suspicious of our motives.
A friend of mine took a 16 week motivational course that met weekly in the evenings. He tells a story… Each participant was asked to take out a business card and on it write, “I love my wife,” and put it in his wallet. The following week the instructor had them write it on a 3×5 card and put it in their shirt pocket. Two weeks later he had them write it on an 8.5×11 inch poster board and place it in a frame on their office desk. By the end of the course they all had 4 foot by 8 foot sheets of plywood erected in their front yards declaring their love for their wives!
Regarding giving, I had to learn that it’s not the volume of it but the fact of it. We all have to have some skin in the game. Worship is incomplete without offering. The entire Old Testament system was based on offering.
Those who don’t give are like the 50% of Americans who don’t pay any Federal income tax. These people are a drag on our entire society. In the church it is often the empty handed ones who create most of the grief.
Several years ago we had a conflict in one of our new churches. 38 people left. That represented nearly 10% of our congregation at that time. I had an agreement with our church treasurer that he would never tell me what anyone’s giving was. He came to me after these 38 people left and handed me a piece of paper with a number on it. He said the number represented the collective weekly offering of the 38 people with the exception of one family. The number was EIGHT dollars! He said to me, “Forget them. They all left a long time ago.”
All Jewish males were required to appear before the Lord several times a year. There was an overriding constant in each visit. They were to bring some kind of offering in keeping with their ability. A bull; a sheep; a dove; a cup of grain; a small coin… The one thing you could not bring was nothing!
EXO 23:15 “You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread; for seven days you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the appointed time in the month Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. And none shall appear before Me empty-handed.
The statement appears several times. So, begin with the principle that zero is incompatible with worship of the Living God. If you’re dead broke and all you have is some loose change on top of the dresser make sure some of it finds its way into the offering. Explain it in terms of worship not giving. As soon as an individual accepts that an empty hand is not an option they will begin a journey toward that big sign in the front yard. It will be green.
BTW… Yesterday I was 65. Our journey into sacrificial giving has been one of the most rewarding features of our worship experience.