The Offering Plate Isn’t Just for Money

Cold, hard cash is hard to find at my house these days. That’s not because of any economic downturn, but because my wife and I simply don’t use cash anymore. The checkbook is likewise getting dusty in a kitchen drawer. All our spending is by credit card.

So do my wife and I use our credit card to give our church offerings? We don’t. Writing a weekly check reminds us that giving is intentional and joyful. Also, we teach our kids by example when they see us put the check into the offering plate. But lately, writing checks has failed to achieve those goals.

We aren’t often writing the check in a thoughtful and thankful mood. Sometimes it is written hurriedly on the way out the door. Sometimes my wife writes the check while I’m brushing my teeth. Sometimes we each thought the other wrote it, so it doesn’t get written at all.

For many years, our son joyfully put the check into the offering plate during church. But now we have two kids, and the younger child wants a chance too. Conflict isn’t part of the spirit of giving.

Here is a solution to these problems: the offering plate isn’t just for money.

After God has served us with his law and gospel in the sermon during church, it is our turn to serve God with our offerings. But God doesn’t want only money. He wants us to put our entire hearts into the offering plate. Prayers and meditations, as well as money, are part of our response to God. That’s why the longest prayer of the church service is “offered” when the plates are brought to the altar.

The new plan at my house is to take time on Saturday to carefully and thoughtfully plan a response to God in written prayers of praise, confession, thanksgiving, and request. As we help the kids with their prayers we’ll have deliberate time to talk to them, which will also help our relationships with them grow. And on Sunday morning everyone will have something of their own to put into the offering plate out of thanks to God.