Your response to the heading of today's reading is probably: "Uh, oh—another money plea!" or "Here we go again . . . some Christian ministry trying to get into my wallet." If that's your response, I hate to disappoint you, but you're wrong. Being wrong this time, however, disappoints no one!
I'm not going to talk about what you should do when the plate is passed. Rather, I want to talk about what you might do before and after that time. Twice every Sunday we spend five to eight minutes of very prime time doing zero. If you're the average, tired churchgoer, young or old, you could check one or more of the following "offering pastimes." Be honest now.
( ) writing notes . . . receiving replies
( ) checking to see who's missing in the choir
( ) getting better acquainted, chattering with your friend
( ) listening for the organist's mistakes
( ) observing the architecture, counting the bricks
( ) planning next week's activities
( ) drawing pictures . . . daydreaming . . . dozing
( ) looking around, watching ushers, checking the time
( ) inking out letters on the bulletin
( ) questioning why that fella in the new suit didn't drop something in the plate
All of this? A complete waste of time. Here we are, right in the midst of a carefully planned worship service, drifting and dreaming away a few precious moments that could otherwise make the difference between a ho-hum and a hallelujah experience.
Ecclesiastes 3:7 refers to a time to be silent. The offering provides you with just such a time—to be silent. To cease from talking. To think, to reflect, to meditate, to slow your motor down and be still. Ask God how you might trade in any usual, humdrum habits for something new that would honor Him during this time. Tomorrow, I'll share some of my ideas with you.
Excerpt taken from Come before Winter and Share My Hope by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 1985, 1988, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.