A call to give 'generously and joyously'

April 11, 2013 | 11 a.m.

Despite tight budgets, college students should be more willing to give to churches and charities

Views | Chris Sjolander for The Clarion

A call to give 'generously and joyously'

One student argues for generous giving, even when finances are tight.

“Ushers will now come by to collect this morning’s offering” are words that we all routinely hear in a Sunday morning church service. The usher presents the plate to the first person seated in the row and it is passed down the aisle efficiently. You may notice that sometimes the plate makes it to the opposite end of the row without even one dollar placed inside. This image is startling and saddening to me.

As of late there has been a significant decline in offering donations to churches – which is mainly attributed to economic stress as a result of the Great Recession of 2008. Families are cutting back on expenditures and saving their money for household necessities and for rainy days.
The reality is that churches rely primarily on offering contributions; they fund specific ministries, missions and also compensate pastors and staff. If you are benefiting from a church’s services and ministries, it seems only fair that you help support that church financially.

Understandably, giving an offering is a challenge for college students. The money from our paychecks funnels right into tuition, loans and living expenses. However, having good stewardship of our money is crucial now, and more importantly in the future when we face more expenditures, bills and the responsibilities of spouses and children.

Pastor John Crosby of Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina, Minn. said, “Each should give in proportion to their income, generously and joyously rather than grudgingly, according to some set standard.” John’s argument is supported in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Jesus does not judge the quantity of our offering. Rather, He values the intent of our generosity. Take, for example, the story of the poor widow in Mark 12:41-44. The widow gives two small copper coins — a seemingly meager amount compared to her neighbors. Jesus uses her as an example of the type of generosity His disciples should have.

Bethel has provided some opportunities for students to donate money to various programs and organizations. One of these opportunities was United Worship’s Live 58 program back in the fall, which focused on combating malnutrition in Mozambique. The effort garnered $2,000, but junior Erin Schrupp believes we can do better. She said, “By fasting and giving money and trusting in the Lord, massive things can happen.”

So Bethel, I challenge you to put some money in the offering plate. It could be $10, $5 or even $1. Think about what you spend your discretionary money on every month. Sacrifice that one coffee drink at Starbucks, that new sweater or that movie ticket to instead help further the Kingdom of God. Our world is in desperate need of your support.

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