“At the king’s command, a chest was made and placed outside, at the gate of the temple of the Lord.” 2 Ch. 24:8
As a new believer, it was quite an embarrassing experience when the offering plate was passing from one pew to another, for I had nothing to give. Even if I had some money in my pocket, parting from it would have been rather difficult. The feeling of uneasiness still remains in my heart up to this day, and a sense of awkwardness is still there when the offering plate comes to me at a worship service. It’s doesn’t mean a thing to the Lord if we are coerced to give merely out of embarrassment or to give to avoid being noticed by the ones sitting next to you in the pew. Therefore, it’s a good idea just to place a chest of offering in an obscure place within the church, so people will have to search for it if they really intend to give.
“At the king’s command, a chest was made and placed outside, at the gate of the temple of the Lord.” A great idea, wasn’t it? People who were eager to give would always locate the chest, and the ones who had no intention or means to give could just walk by the offering box, as if it didn’t even exist.
Buddhist temples in Taiwan seem to have a similar practice, for they place a box of “money for oil and incense,” inside the building, soliciting donations from the worshippers as they walk across the threshold of the temple. I guess it’s a much less intrusive way of demanding money.
Whether we are being coerced or not, giving our tithes and offerings to the Lord often may feel like some type of coercion on our part, since our sense of obeying God’s bidding may not be strong enough to overcome the instinctive power of our possessions, particularly material possessions. It may even feel like being robbed to part from what we consider ours and we may never reclaim what we have lost in the act of giving.
Monetary giving has always been and will always be an act of faith. Apart from faith giving money consistently to God’s church will become an utter impossibility. So, instead of laboring about our lack of funds or our unwillingness to give, it’s wiser to examine ourselves to see whether we have faith in the Almighty or not, for not giving is a sure indication of the lack of it. The Lord Jesus himself made this rather clearly by uttering: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Indeed, the way we utilize our treasure does reveal the true color of our heart, leaving absolutely no room for self-deception or a cunning apologizing. It is what it is, and the best thing for us to do is to face the truth.
Wasn’t this the Lord Jesus’ way of assessing people’s spirituality while he was in the flesh? If it isn’t so, why did he spend an ample amount of time observing people giving their offering in the holy temple? Are we so naïve as to believe that he isn’t secretly examining the way we spend our money, his money rather, and repaying us accordingly?