I enjoy technology and the many benefits that it brings. Microwaves, cell phones, cameras, Bluetooth gadgets, and the like all have a place in my life these days. Like many folks my age, I am from an age group of transitional folks that have gone from having a 4 digit phone number with a rotary dial phone stuck on the wall as a kid, to a cell phone that has more technical capabilities built into it than my entire high school did just a few decades ago. But along with all of the benefits that these technical wonders bring, come risks and dangers.
Many folks run their entire life from their phone. Bank accounts, investment portfolios, electronic bill pay, contact lists, calendars, emails, songs, pictures, events, games, thoughts, books, home utility management system, home security access, and remote pet video camera, are just a few of the many items living on many folks tiny portable devices. And then they lose it and their world comes apart. Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket! I digress…
Perhaps one of the more convenient and time saving things that has become more popular in the past 25 years or so is online bill pay. Whether it is your electric bill, your mortgage, or a one time gift to a favorite charity or “GoFundMe” page, whatever the cause or amount, you can set up a payment of that bill so that the money is paid out on time. You can just “set it and forget it”.
So what about online giving of tithes and offerings at church? Is it evil or a blessing? My thought on it is this…it is just a tool. Much like our cell phones, it is just a tool to be used by us in a manner that brings glory to God. How we use it, how we think about it, makes all the difference. Being able to be faithful in giving to the Lord by setting up auto-pay may help some folks to be more regular or consistent in their giving. For younger generations, where a paper checkbook is as antiquated as the rotary phone I used to use, the ability to give online is a basic expectation for a church to be current and relevant.
What really matters in all of this is our heart condition as we approach giving of ourselves in the form of finances to the Lord. One particular passages in the Bible, 2 Corinthians 9:7, helps to explain the importance and approach to understanding God’s will regarding the “why” and “how much” we give back (not give) to the Lord. IT says “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Another passage, James 1:5, gives us the biblical approach on how to make that determination in your heart regarding giving. It says “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
As much as I love putting our family offering into the plate each week, I expect we will make the change to online giving. It won’t change or diminish our worship of the Lord in any way. It certainly will not change the manner in which my wife and I approach prayerfully considering and determining what will be given back to the Lord. The truth is, everything we have is His in the first place…we are just stewards of it while we are here and while He gives us the opportunity to manage it.
At the end of the day, if technology helps us to be more faithful in our giving by doing it online, great! We just must make absolutely certain that our worship through giving can never be a “set it and forget it” kind of thing. We can never develop an attitude where tithing is just another bill to be paid.