It was early afternoon when one of our members stormed into the room. I was setting up a ping pong table in the fellowship hall when he walked in. For 30 minutes, he scolded me about how our church spends most of its money on youth and children, while senior adults gave most of it.
I explained to him the reason for the disproportionate giving from our children’s department was because they weren’t hiring many 3rd graders at the rubber plant.
My smart mouth didn’t help the situation, and so he slapped the ping-pong table, shook his finger in my face and said, “I’m telling you preacher, if we don’t start getting some things for the senior adults we are going to stop giving. I want to see where all of this money is going.”
At least the man expressed what a lot of church people are wondering. “Where is all of that money going?”
I would encourage you to watch the offering. But if you want to see where it goes, you’re going to have to follow it further than the back of the room. You’re going to have to show up more than just on Sunday. You’re going to have to stop approaching your church like a shareholder and start approaching it like a partner.
Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. ~ Philippians 4:14-15
Notice Paul’s language when he talked about giving. He uses the words “share” and “partnership.”
Investors expect a return on investment, much like the man who slapped the ping-pong table. But a partner is not an investor. He’s involved.
Ask the deacon who prays with a struggling father who’s been out of work for two weeks. Ask that deacon if he knows where all that money goes.
Ask the lady who teaches 5th-grade girls about that girl who gets no hugs at home. Ask her where the offering is going.
Ask the ladies who threw a baby shower for the single mom who was about to abort her baby. Ask them if they know where the offering is going.
There is a big difference between investment and involvement. If you want to know where the offering is going, get involved.
So the man slapped the ping-pong table and demanded more for the senior adults. If only he had been there 30 minutes earlier when one of our senior adult ladies brought that ping-pong table. She put her hands on it with tears in her eyes and shared what a blessing it was for her to see so many young people in our church – and how she wanted to see more.
He was an investor. She was involved.
She brought an offering. He slapped it.
He wanted to know where the offering was going. I wish he had known from where it came.