In the matter of giving and receiving, the church has responsibilities, just as the giver does. We have seen that God wants His people to refrain from giving financially when there are unresolved conflicts in the church. We have also seen that giving is a response of obedience over time, and not the result of an emotional warp spasm. But what responsibility does the church have?
The first is that the church is responsible to be teaching the people the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). We are not to teach what the Bible says in bits and pieces, but rather are to gather it all up in a systematic whole. But this includes teaching the people what the church should do in the presence of the people, and not just what the people should do for the church.
When it comes to godly fund-raising, there are two basic methods employed in the Bible. When Paul puts the godly squeeze on the saints, it is for the sake of distributing practical relief to others (2 Cor. 9:2-4). Even there, there is a point made of having accountability (2 Cor. 8:18-20), but Paul does lean on the saints to dig deep and give . . . to the poor.
When it comes to building construction or reconstruction, the method we see in Scripture is the method of putting a box at the entry way of the sanctuary. This is how the Temple was rebuilt under Jehoash. “But Jehoiada the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one cometh into the house of the Lord: and the priests that kept the door put therein all the money that was brought into the house of the Lord” (2 Kings 12:9). We also see that this is how donations were taken in at the Temple at the time of Jesus. The Lord watched as the widow woman put her two mites into the offering box at the entry to the Temple (Mark 12:42).
This is why, incidentally, we don’t pass the plate during the worship service. We present our tithes and offerings as part of our worship, but we don’t collect them that way. When we pass anything around, it is to distribute, to give. When we celebrate the Supper together, the elders send men out into the congregation to give, not to take. And when the Lord leads you to give, you may do so at the entry, and with no one looking over your shoulder.
So let the stones cry out.