Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Offering

When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because there were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he [Jesus] said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. ~ The Gospel according to Matthew (9:36)

This morning Miss Meagan called to catch me up on her adventures, and to bounce some things off Dad. Meg graduates from College in May, and for at least 2 years she has been talking about backpacking in Europe with her best friend when school ends. That led up to her telling me that she was seriously thinking about going to Haiti on a relief mission, rather than touring parts of Europe on foot. Meagan is uber compassionate, passionate, mission minded, and to use a cliche, "Puts her money where her mouth is."

Coincidentally, I had just finished reading and viewing online the pictures of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Needless to say my daughters words touched me deeply, and I was trying to keep my voice from quavering as I responded to her devotion. Our conversation continued around missional themes, and we swapped anecdotal illustrations to explain our personal perspectives. One thread of conversation led to the financial aspect of missions. After all - you have to have money to put your money where your mouth is.

Meg proceeded to tell me about a podcast on Youtube; a message spoken at Mars Hill Church. The theme was about missions and giving. She briefly summarized what she had heard, and described how a line of buckets separated those who spoke from those who listened. Meg then began to tell me how the message ended.

Those buckets were there for an offering.

Before Meg even finished the story my mind cynically raced ahead to a probable conclusion, "Let each of us prepare our heart to give an offering. Let's fill these buckets remembering, '"Give and God will give even more to you . . ."'

I was blindsided.

I was wrong.

There was no emotional appeal for an offering. No video clips to pull on your heart strings. No promise that if you would give a Hamilton toward God's purposes - God would give you a Benjamin. There was no plea for an offering at all - the buckets were already filled with cash. Instead, an offer was given to any and all present, "Many of you are trying to survive terribly difficult financial times. We will not ask you for anything, but anyone who needs money come forward, and take as much as you need."

I lost it.

Meg consoled me, "Dad, I cried when I listened to the podcast."


  1. *Donations made to Mars Hill's The White Bucket Project are gifts designated to assist people in West Michigan who have financial need. It is understood that these gifts are in addition to contributions to the general operating fund of Mars Hill. Gifts designated as The White Bucket Project contributions may have a targeted amount and a limited duration as determined by the Elders, based upon the needs of the church. Any excess funds remaining may revert to the general operating fund at the discretion of the Elders. It is our intention to be both responsible and transparent in our stewardship of the gifts you entrust to us. If you have further specific questions, feel free to contact any appropriate Mars Hill staff person at any time.

    As Paul Harvey would say, "and that's the rest of the story."

    This is posted on the Mars hill Website under their white bucket program.

    Jim Chabot

  2. Jim, Thank you for the extra info. Trust all is well with you.