Monday, September 5, 2011

Offering up the Scales

Every week at kid's church we transition from singing to our lesson with offering. As soon as the offering buckets come out, I watch small hands shoot into the air, as young, excited voices squeal, "Pick me! Pick me!" After careful selection, one boy and one girl will join me in the front each waiting to be handed a bucket. When I say "Go!" they'll weave back and forth in each aisle making sure every child has the chance to give in the offering if they'd like. They race back to the front, and I ask for a drum roll as the buckets are carefully placed on the scale. A stampede of expectation fills the room as the scales tilt to the right then tilt back to the left before coming to a final stop.

"It looks like the boys took it for speed today, but the girls took it for weight." A cheer goes up from the pint-sized crowd, and then I ask the final question: "But does it really matter who was faster at gathering offering today or who gave more?"

I wait for their reply in unison. "No."

"That's right. No. It all goes to the same place, and God isn't worried about how much you give. He's looking at your heart."

He's looking at my heart. I've been contemplating balance in my life lately, and just today, a mentor from my time in college pulled me into his office and started drawing pictures of scales. As he explained a larger picture of balance, I couldn't stop thinking about offering in kid's church.

There are certain places in my life where I have a heart to give more. I pour in time and resource, but the bucket still feels so light. And although I tell God that these are the places I truly want to invest all of me, I know I'm called at the moment to a different bucket. The other bucket seems to be overflowing, but I often hold back thinking if I truly invest all of me in this bucket, I won't have anything left for the other seemingly more important container. There are times I want to invest more into the lighter container, but the second bucket demands resources that I can't give to the first. And I feel myself at constant odds with God questioning the buckets, wondering why in some areas of my life more is demanded while in others I'm released to less. If I was in charge the scales would be flipped.

God reminded me today that it all goes to the same place. If I am faithful to put what I have in the bucket, to give what is asked no matter how big that contribution must be or how small it has to be, God will take and multiply the rest.

Before we ever take the offering, I always ask the kids why we give. The responses vary, "To help poor people. Because it's good. etc." But I pass the microphone from kid to kid until I get the answer I seek--"Worship."

"That's right, kids." I'll say. All we have belongs to God and we give back as worship to Him.

And God doesn't discriminate between the buckets, because it all goes to the same place when it comes out of the same heart.


Rick said...


Always a pleasure to read your posts. As a "worship" leader, I'm thrilled that you are teaching our children what true worship is--everything we do! On Sundays, that includes the offering, lesson, prayer, singing, and so on. You made that clear in your closing thoughts, so thank you. However, your opening line makes me wonder if you're listening to what you're teaching those precious kids. We are always worshiping, so we don't ever transition from worship to do something else. (Unfortunately, we do sometimes transition our worship to God from someone else, usually ourselves). Just some food for thought from your friendly neighborhood "music" leader.

Dot said...

Richard. Just for you I changed the word choice to "singing". I did not mean we literally were stopping our worship, I meant the portion of the service that includes singing was over. However, a fair, valid critique and a good reminder. Maybe we shouldn't use the word "worship" synonymously with "singing".