The local church is critical to faith. From a biblical perspective, it’s impossible to separate participation in Christianity from involvement in a local church.
The church was created to provide believers with a glimpse of heavenly community. Unfortunately, some churches fall short of this lofty goal which leads some to doubt its overall effectiveness.
Yet even when some churches that fail to instill confidence, it doesn’t mean that Christians can reject the fellowship altogether. Jesus calls his followers to a communal relationship with Him —to put faith in a local church for our discipleship.
We must therefore trust the church to help steward our expressions of generosity.
While there’s no straightforward scriptural command that we must funnel our generosity through the local church, trusting the church with our gifts on behalf of God is richly implied. Instead of presenting a list of Bible verses to prove this point, I find it more motivating to see an example of how God’s people used their shared stewardship to accomplish an amazing project.
In the book of Exodus, God instructs Moses to build a sanctuary to serve as a space for His worship. This was an immense task for people in the wilderness. Supplies were limited. It would take generous offerings from the Israelites in order to make this happen. Moses made a plea to the people and “everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them came and brought an offering to the Lord for the work on the tent of meeting” (Exodus 35:21).
This sets the stage for one of the more unremarkable remarkable stories in the Old Testament. It takes place in Exodus 36:3-7:
“The people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, ‘The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done.’ Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: ‘No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.’ And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.”
The call to give was answered in an unexpected way: the people brought more than what was needed.
Whenever I read this, I find inspiration for how God is able to use the resources of the community to accomplish things. We sometimes forget the obvious fact that there is strength in numbers.
Of course an individual Christian is able to steward their own gifts to the Lord to make an impact. But when we bring our gifts together with others, we’re able to accomplish much greater tasks. In fact, it empowers those who have less in their stewardship journey. When funds are given to the church, even the smallest gift can have mighty results. It's just one reason why we should trust the church to use our funds for kingdom work.
We read in Psalm 32:10 that, “the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.”
Give to the Lord through his church. He’s given you everything. Give him your all as well.