Stirred to Give Joyfully
Mark Behle – Lesotho
Mark Behle – Lesotho
“…for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
At my local congregation of the Lesotho Evangelical Church at Masitise, the Sunday morning service typically takes 1.5 – 2 hours. The length of the service is not due to a long-winded preacher. Actually, the longest part of the service is receiving the offering! It usually takes anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes to receive the morning offering.
The reason it takes so long is that we receive it by groups. Everyone belongs to a group based on thearea around the church where you live. When your group is called, someone will spontaneously start singing a joyful chorus or hymn andpeople stand up, clap their hands, sing and even dance a bit. All this takes place while themembers of the group process down the aisle to put their money on the offering table. It isa trulyjoyful time of celebration!!
The singing continues while they count the money and then announce the total for that group! And then the next group is called. With over 15 groups you can see why it takes a bit of time to dothe offering but it seems to be the part of the service that the people enjoy most.
You also have more than one opportunity to give! Besides coming when your group is called, you may also give again when they call for just the men, women, children or youth! And the visitors are not forgotten either!! There are always a few members who join in with the visitors when they are called to give so that they don’t feeltoo alone! Everyone has ample opportunity to give.
When I experience this celebration of giving in Lesotho, it is hard not to contrast it with the way most of the churches in North America receive the offering: a quiet, somber affair with soft organ music playing in the background.
By any standard Lesotho iscertainly not a rich country. Despite the fact most people there are not wealthy they still know that they have enough to share! Andthe people have tremendous joy in giving. Given the huge abundance of wealthwe in North America have one would think we would be the ones doing all the celebrating when it comes time to give back to Godpart of what we have been blessed with.
In Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians, chapter 9, he tells the church in Corinth that he has boasted about their giving to the church in Macedonia. Do you know what happened as a result? Paul says thatthe Macedonians were stirred into action. Perhaps the Lesotho Evangelical Church could stir us up a bit to remember to celebrate joyfully when we give!!
Mark Behle is a missionary with the Lesotho Evangelical Church. He is a Mathematics teacher at Masitise High School, Lesotho.