God is good!
Offering out of fear of not being blessed? This is the wrong approach. The Chief Apostle recently explained this in a divine service in which He explored the goodness of God and our possibilities to respond to it.
“The psalmist invites us to discover the goodness of God here!” This is how Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider began his sermon on 21 January 2017 in Koumra in Chad. He based the divine service on Psalm 34: 8–9: “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him.”
The goodness of God in seven points
“Often, when we pray to God we call Him ‘good heavenly Father’,” the Chief Apostle said. And what does His goodness consist of? Following is the goodness of God summed up in seven points:
- He gives us the kingdom of God, even though we are small and insignificant and do not deserve it.
- He always makes sure that the trials and temptations we experience are not too hard, and gives us what we need to carry them.
- He forgives us even when we succumb to sin.
- God is good; we see His goodness in Creation—everything He does is perfect.
- In His goodness, He also provides what we need in our daily lives.
- He even treats His enemies with kindness.
The reaction of the faithful
“And now that we have understood the goodness of God, how can we respond to it?” the Chief Apostle asked, and provided answers.
- “We honour God and trust Him. We remain faithful to Him even in trials because we know that He only wants our best.
- We respect God and obey His commandments.
- Because God is good and only wants our best, we are good to our neighbour and forgive him.
- We respect God, which means that we keep the vows we have made to Him.
- And, finally, because God is so good to us, we give Him His share and bring our offerings.
Gratitude, the real reason
It was this last point that the Chief Apostle devoted the rest of his sermon to and asked, “Why do you offer?” Sometimes people respond with the following: “Out of tradition,” or “If I don’t, I will get into trouble.”
“Our offering is not a contribution, an amount of money we give to God so that He leaves us alone,” the Chief Apostle said. “We give to God what belongs to Him because we know that God is good, because He gave us what we have in the first place, and because we want to thank Him for it.”
The Bible certainly indicates what God originally wanted: the people of God were to bring Him tithes, the tenth. “That is a lot. That is more than just giving Him a little something once in a while, when we go to church.”
In the New Apostolic Church it is not a question of money, he went on. We do not check what people offer. There are no lists. We want our faithful to be adults: they are responsible.
Important is our motivation, Chief Apostle Schneider reiterated. “Let us respect God and give Him our offering, even if it hurts. This is how we acknowledge that everything comes from Him and that we are grateful for it. Those who offer out of the fear of God, out of love, and out of gratitude will lack nothing.”