Oh the classic duel of which came first.
The other day I was reading a post by my ‘teacher’ and good friend Eric Foley, about a huge gift for the homeless in Florida. You can check this out on his blog.
The article addresses a huge offering. (Sounds like they hit the lottery. Don’t get me started on ‘lottery giving’ I’ll save that for another time.) In Eric’s post he focuses on training before giving. Not training in how to give but training in how to serve.
This made me think… which comes first, serving or giving? The answer…both.
As a pastor and now a mission director I have seen a growing common denominator in giving. We give to causes we have experienced. Yes there are many who give first, and then want to service the project they have contributed toward. But ‘the going first and giving second’ group is growing, so this is why the answer is both.
The Billy Graham Crusade rolled to town while I pastored. The congregation I served got behind this crusade in a big way. It changed our church. The giving toward outreach also changed greatly after we got involved in outreach.
We see this in the mission community as well. Short-term missions have increased the number of givers to missions. Many, who never regularly gave to missions, have come home from short-term missions and become regular givers.
Giving then is an extension of their service. When giving is seen holistically and not just a part of the Christian walk, but rather a principle of life, then giving gets bigger than dollars and it transforms. Offering training in ways to serve needs to include training in giving, while stewardship seminars need to include service training. If we keep them linked then the Body is healthier.