(April 16, 2021) Maureen McQuillan responds to a lady who queries giving…
Dear Pastor Maureen
Must I give offerings only to my denominational church? ‘Sarah’
As Robert points out in his question-answer this month, we should be generous in our giving… but the query that comes to my mind is ‘Are we Christians because we’re Anglican, Baptist, United, Pentecostal denomination – aren’t we simply Christians because we’ve accepted Jesus as our Saviour?’
I like to think of us as simply ‘Christians’ not ‘this-or-that-denomination Christians. The first Christians were simply known as ‘the People of the Way’ (Acts 9:2) … followers enacting Jesus’ teachings. Jesus had said that he was the way to God… and converts were following him. If I’m asked what denomination I am, I respond saying, ‘I’m a Christian, but it so happens that currently my husband and I fellowship at…’
Now regarding your question, it’s good to support your local church, whatever the denomination. After all it’s a meeting place with commitments, visions and programs, and if you’re being blessed there you do well to contribute.
But the bigger picture is this… ‘followers of Jesus’ are the ‘body’ ie every Christian round the world whatever the denomination. And, really, we should be prepared to assist whoever the Lord puts on our heart. Paul was into assisting others (as Robert quotes re 1 Corinthians 16:2 and 2 Corinthians 9:7… ‘Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give’).
What’s your heart telling you, Sarah? To support someone or some organisation beyond what your denomination supports? A while back, we sensed the Lord encouraging us to reach out to children and help them. And, in an amazing way, we were led by God to support a couple in Romania, not of our denomination, who not only reach out to children by means of gospel cartoon DVDs but build homes for troubled gypsies… and need financial support, not just prayer or written support.
Is God upset that we are contributing beyond any denomination? Of course not. He’s a big God with a big family across a big world! Now you don’t do this sort of thing just to receive thankyous or be blessed by God… you know God is a generous God and you should act from a generous attitude! However wefind we’re being blessed in different ways.
One final thought… the Bible teaches about offerings and donations – if you feel in your heart that God is leading you to support some balanced, worthy cause beyond your local church that is touching lives, then follow through.
And… don’t feel condemned. Paul stated that because of all that Jesus did for us ‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1). That Greek word ‘no’ here means ‘not even one’ disparagement.
Be at peace, Sarah.
Got a question for either Pr Maureen or Dr Robert McQuillan? Email to OnlinerConnect@gmail.com