Because we live in a society that is becoming increasingly cold relationally, with people’s hearts becoming hard, and cruel speech becoming the norm, many people simply don’t “see” other people. At St. James, we want you to see those around you, not just those that are on the platform. The purpose of St. James is the dynamic between those who attend.
Watch other people in the early part of the service and let a few of them catch your attention. Begin to see them. Then, when it’s time to give our offerings (in contrast to our tithes), rather than giving your offering to St. James as an institution, we want you to give your offering directly to other people, the church. This might feel unusual at first, but it’s an exercise to help all of us see each other and care, and then to give to each other and receive from each other. It softens our hearts, allows us to be responsive to the leadership of love, compassion, kindness, and thoughtfulness. The amount given is not the primary focus, but rather the building of love between all of us who are attending.
II Corinthians 9:6-10 says, “Remember this – a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’ And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, ‘They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.’ For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.” This set of verses directly applies to your offerings.