Today’s Reading: Galatians 5:25-6:10
Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. (Galatians 6:6)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. No one likes to talk about money in church. No one wants to talk about what they give or get a lecture about how they ought to give. Trust me, pastors really don’t like preaching about the offering plate! Regardless, Paul talks about it a lot. And so, we need to talk about it.
Paul talks about it because he sees it as a Gospel issue. The Gospel is at stake here! Think about it: If your pastor has to work a second job to feed his family, how much time does he have to deliver the Gospel to sinners? If a congregation isn’t taking care of its pastor, eventually that church might find itself without a pastor. And then, who will preach the Gospel? Who will absolve? What becomes of the ministry when the saints won’t support it?
In 1 Kings 17, Elijah and the widow are living through a famine caused by a lack of rain. There are worse things, however. One might experience a famine of the Word. One might live in a town where there are no preachers proclaiming the Word of God—that Word which delivers forgiveness and eternal life. “Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3).
The offering is an essential part of Christian worship. Our Father provides for our bodies and our souls. He provides for the soul by sending us pastors who preach Christ crucified and absolve sinners in His stead. Pastors deliver the Gifts, and the saints receive them by faith. When the saints truly receive the Word with faith, they receive the Word with joy and thanksgiving. In gratitude, those who receive the Word share all good things with their pastors, which includes their income. They give without grumbling, for they know that what they have received in the Divine Service is far more precious than money.
And whenever Christians receive the Word by faith with thanksgiving, God is sure to provide more of that Word. Since God feeds and clothes the pastor through the generosity of the saints, he can continue to deliver the Word to them. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen
Almighty God, all that we possess is from Your loving hand. Give us grace that we may honor You with all we own, always remembering the account we must one day give to Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. (Prayer for Proper Use of Wealth, LSB p. 311)
-Pastor Alexander Lange is pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Albany, Oregon.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.