The strangest offering I ever heard of years ago was taken up by a leader who felt compelled to “force” people to give. It was a “Faith Promise” offering – the kind pioneered by Oswald J. Smith whereby Christ-followers signed a form whereby they committed to trust God for resources above-and-beyond their regular giving. When the first total came in, the pastor felt this was not “good enough” and demanded the plates be passed again and then again. If “God loves a cheerful giver” as Scripture affirms, I don’t think there were many of this type left by the time the service was over.
In Paul’s plea to Philemon he writes (v.14) “But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favour you do will be spontaneous and not forced.”
Service and favour which is spontaneously offered to God and others is a joy to behold. A willing servant-like attitude is contagious and I believe may well spur on others to greater service.
Having just finished listening to the audio version of “Twelve Years A Slave,” I have been reawakened to the huge differences between masters. Our MASTER, the Lord Jesus Christ is a gracious Servant, who laid down His life for us first before He ever called us to lay down our lives for Him. You would think, like the Apostle Paul, His true followers would invite a delightful spontaneity and not become overbearing in recruiting help! Perhaps this little book has more to teach us than we thought. May we this day serve the Lord with gladness!