Girls Write Out
Thursday, December 01, 2011
I have two words for you today. Love offering. I'd like to explore the meaning of that phrase--not just those two words separately, but what those two words mean when they're put together.

First of all, I apologize if, being Southern Baptist, I'm talking about a phrase some of you may not recognize. Perhaps in your church you use a different name for it.

In my church I have always been led to believe that a love offering is something that is given in secret through the church to someone else in the church who is in financial need. That's supposed to be secret. I mean, as in--you never tell that person you gave that money to them, and no one else is supposed to tell them, either. It's a gift of love, of compassion, something from the heart that only God--and a trusted person from the church--ever sees coming from your hand. Then when the giver arrives in heaven, God Himself will reward the giver openly.

I've seen so many people crave praise from the masses and never consider the passages in the Bible that tell us to give in secret. To me, that's what a love offering is all about. Give privately, in secret, without expectation of praise or recognition or repayment of any kind. Do good to others NOT so they will return that goodness, but simply for the joy of doing good. Let God do the rewarding later, when it will mean so much more than any praise here on earth. Don't keep score. Let God keep score.

Am I preaching today? Hmm. Maybe a little. Because this is the season for gift giving, and often there are so many hidden meanings hidden inside the gifts given. Some people give expensive gifts out of pure love, while others give the largest gifts in order to seek approval from the receiver. Others go into debt to give gifts because they feel they have to keep up with the other set of grandparents or friends. Perhaps giving a gift, for some, is simply seeking love instead of sharing it.

I remember many years ago a man in a former church went blind. Another member, out of love for that man, purchased a Bible on audio tape and trusted another member to pass it on to the blind man, making the member promise to never tell who it came from. Unfortunately, the compassionate member chose the wrong person to keep the secret, and the blind man found out who gave him the gift. He told everyone in the church, and everyone in the church praised this compassionate member who had wanted to badly to remain anonymous. Some of the joy was taken from the giving member.

A love offering is not a loan. It isn't a loud, magnanimous act for public display. In my opinion it's meant to be an act of simple love, spoken privately into your ear by God. It isn't a way to hold sway over the person who receives the gift because, remember, that person should never know who has given the gift. You know why? Because that money was never ours to begin with. It all belongs to God. When God speaks to us and tells us to give a love offering to another church member--a brother or sister in Christ, or a family in need--God is directing you, His steward, where to deliver a portion of His money. So let go of something that belongs to God in the first place. Don't expect it to return to you. Then someday when you're facing God in heaven, you may hear Him say to you, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

Some of us are gifted with the spiritual gift of giving. Others have different gifts. I'm curious about how easy it is for those of you gifted with the gift of giving to keep that giving secret even from the recipient. If you haven't done that yet, I urge you to try it this year, and see what a reward you will have simply with the act of anonymous giving.

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Hannah Alexander  
posted at 9:58 PM  
  Comments (13)
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At 7:57 AM, Blogger Tracy Ruckman said...

This is a topic close to my heart - I PREFER secret giving almost always. I even think tithing should be anonymous, instead of those little white envelopes that give you permission to deduct it on your taxes. I don't even like to do that - even though "wise" people advise us to do it.

If I give something to help myself, I'm not really giving, am I?

See, I could get on a soapbox about this.

Love offerings are awesome when handled as such - gifts of pure love, no strings attached.

At 8:15 AM, Blogger jel said...

your post reminds me of that song
(Don't let your left hand know what your right hands doing)

At 8:17 AM, Blogger jel said...

hey that's a very good shot of you 2! :)

At 10:12 AM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Okay, Tracy, you are definitely blessed with the spiritual gift of giving. How God has blessed you!

At 10:15 AM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Exactly, jel, I was thinking of that passage when writing this. And thanks for the comment. This was taken without makeup, without a bath, camping in a very nice condo with friends, and one of those friends was taking pictures. I asked him to take Mel and me as-is for a promotional. He asked, "Nose hairs and all?" We said, "Yep. This is the real us." He's done tons of our promotional photos.

At 12:19 PM, Blogger Barb said...

I love to give in a sneaky manner and wish I had more financial resources to do that. I especially love it when the recipient tells you the blessing he/she received not knowing you were the giver.

At 1:01 PM, Blogger Timothy Fish said...

I agree that we shouldn’t be giving to gain recognition. If we give and people don’t know what we give, that’s okay. If we do something and don’t receive the credit, that’s okay too. God knows and that’s all that really matters. But I think there’s another side to that. First, I don’t think Jesus meant for use to go to extreme measures to avoid people finding out. The important thing is that we are giving to make ourselves look better, not whether people find out or not.

Along that line, even though Jesus said that the Father would reward us openly, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he will wait until we get to heaven to do it. Sometimes the reason people find out is because God wants to use that to reward us. We may have done a lot with no thought of receiving any recognition, but someone found out and before we know it everyone knows it. Some time ago, our church secretary told me that she needed a bigger computer monitor. So I went and got one. While no one else was a church, I hooked it up to her computer. Somehow, she guessed that I was the one who had done it.

Second, God sometimes wants to use our giving to encourage others to give. Consider the widow who cast two mites into the offering. She didn’t make a big show about it, but Jesus sure did.

Tracy, another way to look at it is that if you claim the additional money the government lets you keep then you have more money that you can give.

At 2:24 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Barb, I know what you mean. I honestly do pray for more money because I see so many people in need right now. And I try hard not to pray for selfish reasons.

At 3:12 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Wow, Timothy! Yet again, you've made a commentary I can agree with! What is this world coming to? ;-)
Yes, I agree that God gives us blessings here on earth when we need a lift from Him or from others. What you did for the secretary was the right thing, and when others found out and praised you, that was God's way of saying "well done."
So well done!

Also, yes, when you deduct your giving from taxes, that's more you can give back to the church, or to someone else in need. For me, that's a win-win.
But those who feel differently, like Tracy, yay to her, too. She's going with her conscience.

At 7:58 PM, Blogger Jackie S. said...

I was Church Admin. for 31 years so hooray to Timothy for helping out the secretary!!! As to secret givers, I thoroughly understand that, and I tried very hard to honor any requests from givers.

At 9:26 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Jackie, you are an angel for keeping all those secrets!

At 9:23 PM, Blogger Cheri said...

Hi Cheryl, I once gave a clarinet my daughter no longer played to a young girl in our church. I had heard that she really wanted to play but didn't have the instrument. I asked the lady who taught her to not let her know where it came from, even though our church was so large I don't think she would have known who I was.

I later received the nicest thank you note from this young girl through this teacher and it meant so much to me. I didn't do it for the thanks, but it was so nice that she took the time to tell me how much it meant to her.

The joy of giving is a wonderful thing, especially when we do it in secret. It is like something only God and I know and is a way to deepen our fellowship.

At 10:34 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Cheri, so good to hear from you! And yes, giving is a wonderful way to share a special spiritual gift from God.


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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