The Bible tells the church to give an offering “on the first day of every week” (1 Cor. 16:2). Why? Does God need our money? No. The Lord owns everything. He says that “every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine” (Ps. 50:10-12).
The first stanza of an old hymn affirms that “we give Thee but Thine own, whate’er the gift may be; all that we have is Thine alone, a trust, O Lord, from Thee.” The message of this song is consistent with scripture. When the people of Israel gave generously for the construction of the temple, King David joyously led the assembly in praise: “All that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. […] Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. […] All things come from you, and of your own have we given you. […] All this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own” (1 Chron. 29:11, 12, 14, 16).
If God owns everything anyway, then why should we give? The apostle Paul shares a stunning truth with the church in Corinth. The knowledge of God’s glory in Jesus Christ is a “treasure in jars of clay” (2 Cor. 4:7). If a lost sinner hears the good news, it’s because we teach him. The Lord won’t send an angel to declare it, and he won’t miraculously provide the money essential to our soul-winning efforts. If Christians refuse to give, lost people have no hope. What an enormous responsibility!
But the church’s great task is also a great joy. The Lord of heaven and earth trusts us to accomplish his all-important work. What an honor!