Tuesday, January 06, 2009

First Fruits

In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. Genesis 4:3-5 (ESV).

Just before Christmas, I saw a story on Fox News regarding a new trend of online tithing. Apparently, some churches believe this will help with contributions in a strained economy. This got me thinking about how our worship services may be influenced by technology and an increasingly cashless society. What if at some point, in the not so distant future, all cash and checks are completely eliminated? Instead of offering plates, we will find the ushers passing some type of electronic gadget down each isle for the congregants to enter their pin and tithe amount? Personally, most of my bills are paid through electronic transfer. One of the few checks I write is to my Church. Thus, this doesn't seem like science fiction to me.

Of course, as Dr. Micheal Horton has exclaimed, if American Christianity can be described by only one word, it is "practicalism." With this in mind, it makes sense why online giving would be embraced. But a simple survey of the scriptures tells us that we worship a God who appreciates forms and styles. We worship a God who loves beauty. Accordingly, do we lose something if we eliminate the offering altogether from our services? I think we do.

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