13.2.3 Willingness to offer and sacrifice based on faith, gratitude, and love

A sacrifice in the Christian sense should not be considered an enforced obligation. Neither should it be made in expectation of reward, but rather freely, out of faith, out of gratitude, and out of love. If one sacrifices with such an attitude, it will no longer feel like a sacrifice, even if it should require great effort. So it is that believers often do not think of it as a burden, but rather a joy, to engage their gifts and talents for the benefit of the congregation and their neighbour.

The willingness to offer and sacrifice springs forth from love.

If the willingness to offer and sacrifice is defined by love, the believer fulfils the will of God and acts in the mind of Jesus.

Those who give of that which they have received–be it in material or non-material gifts–thereby express their thankfulness and love. In Hebrews 13: 16 we are admonished to "do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well-pleased".

The willingness to offer and sacrifice may find its expression in many forms. Much of what takes place in congregational life is only made possible through the members' deep conviction and love for God and His work. Thus many brothers and sisters in faith donate a considerable portion of their free time, energy, and abilities in service to God and the community: many help along in the music and instruction of the Church, others take on tasks relating to the care of the church property and building, decorating the altar, and other duties. With few exceptions, ministers work in an honorary capacity. Divine services, dispensation of sacraments, acts of blessing, and funeral services are conducted free of charge. Families and sick members receive regular care. The aged, the handicapped, and those living alone are given special attention. Thereby the double commandment of love is fulfilled.

We are also admonished to do good to our brothers and sisters who find themselves in need (Galatians 6: 10). Love for our neighbour also prompts us to support others in situations of need (Matthew 25: 34-46), and to help them in times of disaster. This can also be done by donating money or other goods. The aid agencies which the Church sponsors in the context of its social commitment, and by way of which it provides emergency aid around the world, are generally financed by voluntary donations.

For New Apostolic Christians, willingness to offer and sacrifice is a matter of the heart. Believers also feel the need to express their thankfulness and love toward God in concrete gifts (sacrifices), be it in monetary form or in the form of natural produce. In so doing they can take direction from the tithe mentioned in Malachi 3: 10. Offerings are usually placed in the offering boxes set up at divine services and other Church events, or transferred to the accounts of the Church. In many regions an additional offering of thanks is brought on Thanksgiving Day.

All financial contributions are made voluntarily and mostly anonymously. Thus it is possible to cover all the expenses of the Church without levying a church tax or charging membership fees. Through their offerings, believers give thanks to God and contribute to the development and completion of His work.

With all offerings, the attitude of heart is of decisive importance. Jesus once observed "the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He also saw a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, 'Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had'" (Luke 21: 1-4).

Believers can bring a sacrifice in a broader sense, namely by devoting their own heart. This is understood to include the engagement of all gifts and talents, as well as complete trust in God. In certain situations it can therefore also be a sacrifice to subordinate one's own will under the will of God. These are spiritual sacrifices as admonished by Apostle Peter (1 Peter 2: 5). Beyond that, a great deal of time and energy is invested in the service of God and His work, and in many ways believers give up personal advantages in so doing. Ultimately everything the believer does or abstains from doing, out of love for God, is a sacrifice.

See also