Friday, May 4, 2012

Lord's Supper and Giving--why together?

When I was growing up, it was hard for me to distinguish the Lord's Supper from the time we are giving our contribution. After all, the two very separate things were usually only separated by a prayer---and since the bread and the cup are separated by a prayer, too, it was difficult for my young self to discern between the two very different things.

As I grew older, I realized they were separate, and I wondered why we kept them together all the time. Do we have to? Is it commanded? Is it a tradition that we simply cannot change? I know that the answer to all of those things is no, but recently I've decided that I like that they're together. Today, I'd like to share the reason with you.

First let me say this: I know that MY feelings don't really matter in worship. When I come to worship God, I'm coming to do just that--worship God. Not gratify myself; not invoke some sense of worthiness within me. No, I am coming to honor God and that is that. So whatever my preferences are, well, they really don't matter. I get that. However, I'd like to explore this thought of Lord's Supper and giving because it helps me to worship my God better, and maybe it will do the same for you.

As I said in a recent post, my husband recently concluded a gospel meeting where he talked in depth about the trial, crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Since that time, dozens of thoughts have been pouring into my head. Perhaps the greatest thing (and a surprising thing to me!) I took away from his lessons was a greater appreciation for giving back to the Lord as is commanded for us to do on the first day of the week (2 Cor. 9).

You see, this past Sunday as I sat in worship, I took the Lord's Supper as I am privileged to do every Sunday. I reflected on my Savior dying on a cross for my sins. I thought about His beaten, mangled body and the blood that flowed out from Him. Though the images that came before my mind were heightened because of the lessons I'd heard from my husband only a week before, it was something similar to the things I'd been doing every week. Then, like nearly every Sunday before, it was time for me to give. Like always, only a prayer separated these two very separate forms of worship, yet because they were so close together together--it had a profound impact on me.

How can you not be a cheerful giver when you think about all that Christ has given for you? How can you be a penny-pincher in regards to the money you are a steward of, when Christ held nothing back for you?

Philippians 2:5-8 gives us a glimpse into the sacrifices Jesus made:

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being made in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."

If you have been correctly taking the Lord's Supper (and we know we can take in incorrectly--1 Cor. 11:27), then you have been examining the death of Jesus and remembering all that He did for you. Coming off of such a somber moment, how can you not readily and cheerfully give back to the One who gave all for you?

Oftentimes we get distracted--maybe we have to find our checkbook, a child is being restless, or we've been sitting there so quietly that we just let our minds relax. Whatever it is that you think about during the time that you are giving back to God, I urge you to let your thoughts continue on what Jesus has done for you. It was such a rewarding experience for me. It humbled me, and made me feel that much closer to God in what I was doing. Knowing God didn't spare anything, it made me want to give absolutely everything I could to Him--holding nothing back.

I know this isn't earth-shattering. I'm sure this is something you've done for years and years. For me, though, it can become routine instead of purposeful. It can be a no-brainer at times--dropping a check into the collection plate. I urge you to remember, during those quiet moments, what God has done for you. It will be so much easier for you to give cheerfully, and thus worship Him more acceptably. After all, isn't that what it's all about?

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