Putting Giving Back In Worship
Jesus said: "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23,24). Most understand the necessity of doing things by the authority of Christ (Colossians 3:17). To worship God in truth demands things be done as God has revealed in his word, the Bible.
An examination of the New Testament shows there are 5 items of worship. Namely: Singing (Ephesians 5:19), preaching (Acts 20:7), prayer (Philippians 4:6), the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-30), and giving (1 Corinthians 16:1,2). Since the establishment of the church as recorded in Acts chapter 2, Christians have assembled upon the first day of the week to fulfill these worship duties (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1,2).
When the church comes together here, we begin our worship service with an announcement that it is time to begin and conclude with prayer. Typically, all the items of worship are performed during this worship assembly.
However, due to COVID, various measures were taken to protect individuals from contracting illness. One such measure has been to make available the collection plate in the foyer so folks can put their contribution in the plate either prior to or after the service. I've been told there are brethren in other places that make the collection plate available prior to and after worship and say nothing at all during worship about giving.
Question: Is the giving under such an arrangement part of the worship? It is collected before and after. Is it then part of our worship? If it is acceptable to perform that particular item of worship prior to and after the worship period, would it be acceptable to observe the Lord's Supper in the same manner? Why or why not? Perhaps a member, upon entering the building, stops in the foyer and eats the bread and drinks the fruit of the vine before taking a seat or hurriedly partakes of it as they leave the building after service? Would that be ok? Why or why not?
Many things have been affected by COVID over the last couple of years. In many places, worship has been no exception. I have heard many individuals ask and desire for things to get back to the way they were before this virus began. Perhaps we can help make that happen by putting giving back in worship!
- Donnie Oliver