Pathways – What’s the offering all about?

Categories: Pathways

Have you ever heard of Hobby Lobby? Felix Tam was telling me about it last week – I found what he said to be amazing – so amazing I immediately verified what he told me through a google search!

I discovered that Hobby Lobby was started by a devout Christian by the name of David Green, making miniature picture frames in his garage. Within two years he was able to open his own 300 square-foot retail store. Since that time (1972) the company has grown to the present mega chain with over 700 stores and $4 billion in revenues.

Interestingly, David says that one of the keys to his success is giving. He has learned that what he owns does not belong to him but to God. He believes that he is only a conduit of God’s blessings for His ministry and work. From the very beginning David decided to give a portion of his earnings away to evangelical ministries. So, every year he set a goal for his giving and every year he was able to exceed it so that today Hobby Lobby gives away 50% of its pre-tax earnings to the work of God around the world.

I can’t help but wonder if David Green wasn’t helped in his understanding about giving from what we read in Mark 12:41-44. It’s Passover and the temple is packed with people giving their offerings to the Lord. But of all the people who gave that day, one stood out above all the others for Jesus. He saw a poor widow put into the treasury two very small copper coins. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.” Clearly Jesus wasn’t impressed by how much was given (which is good news for those who aren’t able to give much) but by how much was left over (which is a challenge for those who are able to give much).

We’ll talk more about the offering this Sunday but why don’t you start praying about your financial giving today? David Green offers this advice to help us in our thinking … he suggests that we don’t wait until God tells us to give. We should be proactive and strategic about giving. First, he says you should develop a criteria to give to organizations that fit your personal mission. For David, organizations that lead people to Christ are a priority because his personal mission is for people to accept the truth of Jesus.

Second, he says you should set a goal for your giving. Create a target above the Old Testament prescribed amount of 10%. Tithing is good, David says, but it really is like training wheels, good to get you started but not where you meant to be as you mature in your faith.

Finally he says, set an example for the next generation. They will only be able to learn how to give as we demonstrate a Christian commitment to being generous.

I would add one more thing … as you think about giving to the offering think about how Jesus gave his all to you, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” ( 2 Corinthians 8:9)

In thanksgiving for you all, Tom.