Pensamientos para hoy (afterthought for today)
Thank OfferingNot long ago a missionary family in our church invited all the church people and their family and friends to come to their house after church for a special luncheon. One of the reasons for the luncheon was to show their appreciation to their church family for the many "housewarming" gifts and all the work done in the house to welcome them back from the mission field. We all had a wonderful time as we enjoyed the good food and the warm hospitality of our missionaries. Expressions of gratitude like this are typical forms of giving thanks. When someone does something for us we often send a Thank You card or show our gratitude by doing something special. As Christians we can show our gratitude to God by giving a special "thank offering". I searched the Internet to find examples of churches who take an annual thank offering and found a few interesting examples. One was from the Presbyterian Women of the Presbyterian Church USA. Their annual thank offering began in the late 1800s with Eliza Clokey of Springfield, Ohio. Eliza's plan was to ask each woman in the PCUSA churches to give a special gift to the Women's General Missionary Society as a "thank offering to our Lord."1 Another example was from the Episcopal Church. Their first United Thank Offering was in 1889. This offering was part of Women's Auxiliary missionary efforts. The secretary to the Women's Auxiliary, Julia Emery, and another woman named Ida Soule encouraged women to pray and give a special offering to help build a new church in Anvik, Alaska and help send Miss Lisa Lowell as a missionary to Japan.2 Another thank offering is taken by the United Methodist Women. Their World Thank Offering gives Methodists an opportunity to "respond to God's abundance and grace with spontaneous gifts of gratitude."3 The thank offering did not start with Christian churches. The practice of giving a special offering of thanks goes back to the earliest days of the nation of Israel. In Leviticus we read:
Now this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings which shall be presented to the LORD. If he offers it by way of thanksgiving, then along with the sacrifice of thanksgiving he shall offer unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil, and cakes of well stirred fine flour mixed with oil. With the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving, he shall present his offering with cakes of leavened bread (Leviticus 7:11-13).4Our church, Trinity Evangelical Free Church, will take a special thank offering on Sunday, November 25th as a way to express our gratitude to God for his special blessings in our lives. The offering this year will be presented as a love gift to our friends and recent immigrants from Africa--Kwami and Rose. We give this gift with gratitude to God and with joy for the opportunity to show our love to this special family. May God use it for his glory and to meet the needs of Kwami, Rose, and their children. Thankful for so many blessings, Pastor Steve November 23, 2007
Footnotes 1Thank Offering, [web-page] available at: http://www.pcusa.org/pw/thank/. Presbyterian Church (USA). Internet accessed November 23, 2007. 2United Thank Offering - UTO, [web-page] available at: http://www.eca-sj.org/text/uto.htm. The Episcopal Church in Almaden). Internet accessed November 23, 2007. 3 The World Thank Offering, [web-page] UMW Corner available at: http://www.epworth-euclid.org/UMW.html. Epworth-Euclid United Methodist Church. Internet accessed November 23, 2007. 4Leviticus 7:11-13, NASB (New American Standard Bible). Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
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