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Is it yours to donate?

March 1, 2011

– “One of the biggest ways that I serve the Lord is by volunteering with the youth.”
– “He donates a lot of his time to the Lord’s ministry over in the children’s department.”

These terms, when related to the church, recently became a pet peeve of mine. Here is why: I believe that everything I own I don’t own. The ownership is God’s, I am a steward. So it’s not my car, it’s God’s car. It’s not my bank account, it’s God’s. And not in a cliché way, but truly, it belongs to God. And so that it doesn’t seem too ethereal, that means that whatever I have is at the disposal of the Church (not the building, but the people). So, having said all that, how can I/we say things like, “I donate a lot of my time to the church”? That doesn’t make any sense. If it’s not your time to start with, then you can’t donate it. It’s already His. You are being an obedient servant, but you’re not “donating” (which sounds like some rich person dropping off his lightly used shoes to the thrift store down the street). Volunteering isn’t the best terminology either, in my opinion, because volunteering, again, has this going-out-of-my-way-for-a-good-cause feel about it, which is also wrong. Ministering to the Church is (assuming family/God as priority) the main thing, not a good side option if you happen to have some leftover time.

So please, serve the church. But you’re not volunteering and you’re not donating, you’re just serving, like everyone else. Paid or not, clergy or layperson, we don’t donate for the church, we live for her.

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