Pass the Plate

 In Pastor Jeff's Blog

…remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ – Acts 20:35

Over the holidays I enjoyed several great meals with family and friends. The abundance of food and love at the table made for feasts fit for the body and the soul.

During one of those meals I was serving myself from a dish full of goodness when someone said, “Hey, pass the plate.” And for a moment everything stopped.

“Passing the plate” is church-speak for taking an offering. As Lutherans we often use the language of returning with thanksgiving what God has first given to us, sharing generously so that others in need might be fed in body, mind and spirit.

But when we sit at the dinner table, we ask the plate to be passed so that we might be fed, so that our hunger might be satisfied.

I wondered in that moment what might happen if we changed our thinking about the offering in church, or about generosity in general.

What if, when we’re presented with an opportunity to give, we also think about it as a moment when a deep hunger in us is fed. A hunger to express our gratitude through generosity. A hunger to invest in something bigger than ourselves. A hunger to reflect the nature of the One in whose image we are made?

What if generosity is ultimately less about giving and more about the opportunity to receive something that feeds our soul? I wonder if that’s what Jesus meant when he said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

That way of thinking and seeing could change how we live generously in this new year. In fact, it could change us.

How could your generosity change in 2020?

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN

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