Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 3, 1953

Giving Thanks For The Giving

H. N. Howard, Modesto, California

Not all sectarian practices are in sectarian churches. The practice of "Giving Thanks" for the offering is pure sectarianism and has been borrowed from that fraternity by preachers seeking to improve on the common, unpretentious services of the church, Sectarian preachers invented the practice as a sort of psychological "gold digging" to make their parishioners feel that the Lord is looking angrily upon them when they give to the church, and will curse the fellow who does not give liberally. In that fear of the Lord's wrath the ignorant, half superstitious member will give more than if his attention was not called to the eyes of the Lord scrutinizing his giving. Fear of wrath drains more from the pocketbook than love for the cause. It is one of the "tricks" of sectarian preachers to get more money for themselves. It works fine too! in sectarianism. But do we need this kind of Voo-Doo to obtain money to carry on the work of the church?

The giving of "thanks" before the collection is of recent adoption among the churches of Christ. Shall we let sectarian preachers set the pace for our order of worship? This kind of "bunk" should be stopped. We are not fooling anyone, and especially God, by trying to make Him or them think that we are glad to "get rid" of our money!

We pray for things that we think we, or others need. Prayer is a petition to God for things we want. We "give thanks" for blessings received. There is a lot of difference between "giving thanks" and praying for favors. There is too much just saying prayers without any special object in view. This sort of thing is useless and hurtful to the church.

If we pray before passing the plate for the collection, for what shall we pray? There should be something we desire, else why pray at that particular time? Or, if we "give thanks" at this time, for what shall we give thanks ?

We of the church of Christ claim (?) to "speak" where the Bible speaks and be "silent" where the Bible is silent, and this practice is without a precedent, either in the Old or New Testaments.

Most people "give thanks" for the "privilege" of giving, "of our means" when making the contribution, but such talk is due to ignorance and thoughtlessness. A "privilege" is a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor; a right of "immunity" not enjoyed by others, or by all; special enjoyment of a good, or exemption from "an evil burden"; a prerogative, advantage, franchise. Now I see nothing in connection with giving that resembles a "privilege."

"Giving is not a privilege," it is a duty." A privilege is an advantage granted that a person can use, or not use, as he sees fit. A duty is binding. A person can waive a privilege without guilt, but a duty he cannot avoid without guilt!

In all "real giving" there is a sacrifice, and no man is thankful that duty requires a sacrifice. Even Jesus, when about to make the supreme sacrifice, prayed that the cup might pass from Him, and there is some of that same feeling in any sacrifice that we are called on to make. If I have something that I am so glad to "get rid of" that I thanked the Lord for the privilege of ridding myself of it, it is not a sacrifice!

No man's money burns his pockets so much that he is glad to get "rid" of it. Let's not kid ourselves that we are fooling God, or anyone else.

This practice is sometimes defended ( ?) by a passage in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 which says, "In everything give thanks." This passage is quite correct for whatsoever we receive we should give thinks. Now if the contribution is made to me, I should give thanks for it, but why should I give something to the cause of the Lord and then thank Him for the contribution I just made, or was about to make, to advance His cause ? This practice besides being unscriptural, is illogical, and either of these is sufficient grounds to demand its discontinuance by every church that claims to "Speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent."

"What do you think?"