As my husband and I drove home from Birmingham this weekend, we listened to a sermon titled “Why do we go to church?” I expected all the answers I already knew: We go to church to worship God. We go to church to hear sound teaching from the Bible. We go to church for fellowship, to be with other believers.
The preacher quickly addressed all of those points and then landed on an idea that really convicted me.
We go to church to give.
The preacher posed the question, “What would it look like for you to pray each week and ask God to give you something to give at church?” It could be money, talents, a specific way you serve, an encouraging word to someone in need… But what would that look like for you and I to show up at our churches every week with the intent of giving in some form?
Most of us go to church with the purpose of being fed. We want to be led in worship, taught the bible, and given a message that encourages our hearts enough to press on. Right? I mean, we all need those things at some level. I’m not saying that’s wrong, but what happened to God’s church being His people? You and I are the people. The “church” as defined by God is not the paid staff who does all the work on Sunday. It’s all of us together.
What would it look like if you and I showed up to church every Sunday with the intent of giving in some way?
As my husband and I began to talk about what that might look like for us, my thoughts started getting even more radical.
What if everywhere I went, I went with the purpose of giving?
When I go to work, when I show up for coffee with a friend or student, when I grab lunch with a coworker, when I go to the gym, the grocery store, the dry cleaners, when I go home to my husband, literally everywhere. And what if every time I transitioned to the next thing, I simply prayed, “Ok Lord, give me something to give.”
Lord, give me something to give in every place I go and in every human interaction I have.
That is so counter-intuitive it probably makes your bones hurt. Your brain (ahem–your sin nature) is wired to think “me, me, me.” What am I getting out of this situation, this work day, this coffee, this gym time, this interaction with the barista? Me, me, me. But if we all just agreed to flip that on it’s head? What if you and I showed up everywhere, every day, with the intention of giving something in someway?
Of course, the key is that we have to look to God to provide it. Right? Otherwise, if you and I just tried to give all the time out of our own strength, we would be exhausted. We would be totally empty and dried up. But if we look to God to provide not only our every need, but our every thing to give away— I firmly believe we would never run out.
Jesus said it himself, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
We may hear that a lot in the context of material goods or money, but I think He was covering all forms of giving. Once again, as the way this Christian-lifestyle goes, you and I have a choice. Are we going to live like the world tells us? –Take care of you, look out for you, it’s all about you. Or are we going to live like Jesus encourages us? It’s better to give than to receive.
If that’s true, that it is more blessed to give, then that’s where I want to be. Let’s show up to give.