Offerings and Giving in Scripture
Offerings are a Scriptural Concept
Are offerings scriptural and is it OK for a preacher to take up an offering?
:1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
:2 “Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.
In Exodus, God gave Moses instructions for how to build the Tabernacle, God’s dwelling place. He also instructed Moses to tell the people to bring an offering to finance its construction. So, there was a God given vision and offerings to support that vision.
Notice here that God Himself was the One who gave instructions about offerings. God spoke to Moses. However, Moses was the one who was to tell the people to bring the offering. So, offerings are a God given concept and it is also scriptural for those God has called to do a work to take up offerings for that work.
I will do another article shortly on handling money with integrity in ministry, which will look at right and wrong ways to ask for offerings because this subject has been abused and left a ‘bad taste’ in many people’s mouths. However, we need to go with everything the Bible teaches, including about offerings.
One thing this verse also mentions is that people were not to be pressured into giving, but were to give willingly from their heart.
The Gospel is Free, but Offerings Enable it to Spread
Today, we are not building a natural Temple or Tabernacle, but we are part of God building His church and spreading His Word. The Gospel is free, but it takes finances to spread it. Often, churches and ministries are unable to do what God has called them to do because of finances.
I believe that partners who support a ministry by offerings help enable the ministry to fulfil what God has called it to do.
My desire is to be able to take the Word of God to people for free, without financial limitations on where I can preach or what the ministry can do. This is why I do not take up offerings on the live online Bible teaching videos that I do each week. These are for teaching the Word, not for taking up offerings. I want people focused on receiving the Word of God during these teachings.
However, in order to do this, I believe God uses partners. These are people who connect with the vision of this ministry and believe in what I am doing. They want to help me fulfil the call God has given me to teach the Word of God by giving offerings to From These Shores.
Partners helped Paul Spread the Word
The Philippian church supported Paul regularly and sent offerings to him on multiple occasions. They partnered with Paul by sending him regular support, so he could preach in other cities. The scriptures clearly show this.
Phillipi was a retirement city for wealthy Romans and ex-generals, a Roman colony and a city with status in the Roman Empire.
In Acts 16:9-12, God specifically led Paul to Macedonia to preach the Gospel. Paul often refers to ‘the Macedonians’ in his other writings. Philippi was in Macedonia, so his references to the Macedonians includes the Philippians. Paul established a church there and then had an ongoing relationship with the Macedonians, which he refers to multiple times in his writings.
2 Corinthians 8
:1 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia:
In context, the ‘grace of God’ referred to here is a grace to give because this passage is about offerings. The Macedonian churches became givers. They gave to the poor and to Paul to help him fulfil his ministry
2 Corinthians 11:7-9
:7 Did I commit sin in humbling myself that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge?
:8 I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you.
:9 And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself.
Paul desired to take the gospel to people for free. This meant he needed finances from somewhere else to take care of his needs and enable him to preach for free. Notice that, in verse 9, Paul says the Macedonian church supported him by supplying for his needs. This enabled him to have his needs met without being a burden to the people he was preaching to in other places.
The Philippian Church
Philippians 4:10-11, 14-19
:10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity.
:11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:
:14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.
:15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only.
:16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities.
:17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.
:18 Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.
:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
The Philippian Church Supported Paul
In Philippians 4, Paul talks directly to the Philippian church about the gifts and offerings they sent him. In verse 14, he says they ‘shared in’ his distress. Verse 15 talks about how after Paul left Philippi, they gave to him. When Paul was in Thessalonica, they ‘sent aid’ more than once for Paul’s needs. He then confirms in verse 18 that he had received the gift they sent.
This passage shows clearly that the Philippian church supported Paul when he was in other cities preaching the Gospel and backs up what we saw in 2 Corinthians that the Macedonians support enabled Paul to spread the Word to other cities for free.
Paul was able to take God’s Word to people for free because God used the Philippian church to support him by taking care of his needs.
Today, partners do the same for a ministry. By partnering with From These Shores, you are enabling me to take God’s Word to more people and fulfil the call upon this ministry.