I don't usually do this, but this article is just beautiful and . . . radical. It comes from Wade Burleson who pastors Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Oklahoma. You can hear his sermons each week at EChurch at the The Wartburg Watch blog.
Emmanuel Enid receives offerings in our four morning worship services the old fashioned way - we pass plates. Since coming as pastor of Emmanuel in 1992, it has been our standard practice to invite people in the auditorium to either give to the offering or receive from the offering. When we pass the plates we encourage those in financial need to take from the offering if they have need. We only ask that they take the cash and leave the checks and the envelopes because those are checks made to Emmanuel, and they couldn't cash them anyway. We also typically announce that if there is not enough cash in the plate to meet their need, they can see us after the service and we will see what we can do to help them financially. There are no restrictions. Members and guests are invited to take from the offering plate. Money can be taken by the same person every week for fifty-two weeks. We mean what we say, and we have many stories of people who have been helped through our offering, sometimes in surprising fashions. One young lady who was in college stopped me one Sunday with tears in her eyes. She was an only child. Her only surviving parent and grandparent, her father, was dying of cancer. . . . . . . . . please enjoy the rest of the story here.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/landerholm/6859392170/">k.landerholm</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">cc</a>