Under the Old Law, God expected the Israelites to tithe up to three times a year. Christ mentions tithing in a few places, but early Christians did not incorporate the practice of a tithe. Instead of a tithe, early Christians gave based on their own discretion. The church used the funds to support Christian widows, the poor, gospel preachers, Christian prisoners, and those affected by calamities.
It is a common practice among many groups today to perform a collection during the worship assembly. More often than not, this takes the form of a communal plate that is circulated among the attendees in the sight of all. Some groups are more discreet (a small box near an entrance or envelopes conveniently placed in the pew). Where did this practice come from?
I recently read a billboard advertising a local church. Of all the things they might have mentioned this is what the sign said: “Where will you find a church that… 1) Welcomes homosexual couples, 2) Invites questions, 3) Acknowledges many paths to God, and 4) Seeks social justice…” The name and address of a local congregation offering these “opportunities” was provided at the bottom of the billboard. For some, like myself, this kind of activity in a “Christian”congregation is unsettling; for others, it’s a sign of progress and a breath of fresh air. I like a congregation that invites questions, but a church that legitimizes homosexuality and accepts many paths to God I’m afraid is wandering away from the Word of God.
One of the very first commands God gave man was to give. Cain and Abel were asked to give a sacrifice to God, appropriate to His will. God, explaining to Cain why his offering was not acceptable, states in Genesis 4:7,
If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.
Giving an offering to God was not just a matter of convenience or the “thing to do,” giving was a serious action with serious consequences. If the giving was unacceptable, God explains, “sin lies at the door.”