Today I helped lead worship at church. It was my duty to read the Hebrew and Christian scriptures and to offer an invitation to Stewardship. Below is what I said.
“You must pre-pay for your car’s fuel before a single drop sees the inside of your tank. You pay for your groceries before you can leave the store with them. You pay your electric bill once the utility company calculates how much you’ve used. You get your paycheck after you’ve put in your time. The newspaper company will leave a paper in your driveway after you’ve paid for a subscription. You can’t hear your favorite artist perform live until you’ve purchased entry into the venue.
The majority of this world relies on payment for services. If you want something, you have to pay for it.
This church is not a store, but it does give you many options when it comes to filling your spiritual shopping cart. It is not a gas station, but it does give you the fuel you need to keep going. It is not a restaurant, but it gives you a period of rest between all the activities that fill your life. It is not a utility company, and yet it fulfills the basic need we all have that keeps us coming back for more: love and truth.
This church does not require payment for services rendered. There are no bills from the church at the end of the month. There are no hidden fees. There are no payment plans to help you get out of debt to the church.
And yet we pass these collection plates down the pews each week, hoping that you will give a goodwill offering. Something to show your appreciation, your gratitude, your faith in the church. That what we are doing here, what we are, is something good, something fulfilling, something everyone needs.
The diaconate will now come forward to collect your offerings to the church.”