Orthodox Stewardship Part 3: Sacred Offering

Two weeks ago we began with an intro that discussed the paradigm shift of viewing your giving as a Sacred Offering.  What does it mean to give an offering?  When we give an offering we give it without expecting anything in return, we give not out of obligation and we give with thanksgiving. Our giving can be seen as a cycle in which God creates all things and gives them as gifts to his stewards, who in thanksgiving for receiving his gifts returns the first and finest as a sacred offering.  

Biblical Examples of Offerings

Let’s start with the first offering, that of Abel (Genesis 4:3-7).  Cain brought grain from the field.  The bible is not descriptive about Cain’s offering.  However, we get more of a description regarding Abel’s offering.  Abel brought firstborn, and fattiest (best) ie his first and finest.

Next, let’s look at how offerings were done in the Old Testament.  The first record of a tithe is with an interesting figure, Melchizedek.  Let me set the scene, a great war is raging between kings.  During this war, Abraham learns that his brother Lot is captured.  So he takes a band of men and rescues Lot.  Genesis 14:17-20 describes on his way back he runs into Melchizedek a priest and King, who conducts a service of Bread and Wine and blesses him.  In response, Abraham gives him a tithe of all he has.   The tithe is a response of thanksgiving in all that the Lord has given Abraham. 

In the New Testament, Paul describes how we should view our giving in 2nd Corinthians 9:6-11.  “Give as he has decided in his heart” We must decide in advance how much to give and make a commitment.  “Not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” Do you see your giving as a burden or obligatory?  Finally, God has given us generous so that we, in turn, give generously.

How to Give as Offering

  • Offer your first and finest – Set aside money for God first before other obligations
  • Offer with thanksgiving in mind – Think of all you have been blessed with
  • 10% is the starting line, not the finish – Train to get to 10% but don’t let that be the end continue on beyond that.
  •  Plan your giving – Set a commitment and stick to it.
  • Offer Generously and Cheerfully – Do you see your giving as a burden or obligatory?