When to Leave Church and Not Give
The sanctuary was at full capacity on “Harvest Sunday.” It was the final day for celebrating the capital campaign and for bringing the gift commitments to the church.
Chuck stood with his wife, Ellen, in the row directly behind the pastor. Ellen noticed Chuck was restless throughout the service, but she didn’t think anything of it. As the campaign chairman, Chuck extended several public appeals throughout the month, and conducted a series of vision-casting sessions in homes.
They were emotionally invested in the campaign and had committed a significant gift that they were looking forward to presenting.
At the appropriate time, the pastor stepped up to the pulpit to invite the congregation to bring their gifts.
Chuck and Ellen stood up and dropped the envelope into the box. As they returned to their seats, Chuck’s palms were sweaty. While his right hand wrapped around Ellen’s waist, his left fist was clenched inside his pocket. And inside that fist was the check.
Little did Ellen know, the envelope they dropped in the chest was empty.
When the service was over, Chuck gathered his family and left as quickly as he could. He wasn’t even interested in hanging around for the team to tally up the offering.
After a hurried lunch at home with the family, Chuck left for his office. He told Ellen he had something to take care of.
Sitting in his office after tense moments of hesitation, he finally pulled out his phone and made the call. It was a call he had thought about for years, but a mixture of fear and pride always stepped in the way.
“James, this is Chuck.”
It had been four years since they had seen each other, and even longer since they talked cordially without attorneys in the room.
“James, I want you to know I really regret what happened. I know there’s much water under the bridge and that we failed to resolve things out of court. I am truly sorry for my part in it all. I hope you will forgive me.”
The conversation was short.
Chuck knew they would never be best friends again. They wouldn’t play golf or attend civic dinners with their spouses together. Yet something significant took place from that phone call. A burden had been lifted from his heart.
As Chuck hung up the phone, he leaned back in his chair and sighed. Then he stood up and reached in his pocket. He felt the check. Of course he knew it was still there. Immediately he left the office and called Ellen to explain the situation. On the way home, he stopped by the church and went inside to leave their check.
The gift was now complete—and acceptable.
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24)
Read Jesus’ giving instructions again. It’s important.
What would you say that He is more concerned about: the money? Or maybe something else?