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The Rev. Daniel McGrath: “Sacrifice”

November 26, 2007

Since this is the time of year when a lot of us are thinking about completing our giving to our churches for the current year, and planning our giving for the next year, here is another sermon on tithing, Sacrifice, by the Rev. Daniel McGrath. Some of what Fr. McGrath says in this sermon could make many of us uncomfortable, but that is not always a bad thing. And there is no denying that he makes good points, such as this one:

Giving to the Church is not like giving to Charity. It must be a
Sacrifice of the first fruits. Giving to charity normally means that
you give out of your excess: you have a little something extra in
your pocket, so you hand it to the pan handler standing by the
roadside. Or, you have a little extra in your household budget, so
you direct it to Hopelink or some other community outreach
organization for the benefit of those who are less well-off. Giving to
the Church is the opposite of what I have just described. It is not
like giving to charity, for it must be a real Sacrifice. That is, it must
not be an after thought, but the first and the best that we can do.
Why? Because we owe God everything, and our first-and-best thus
given back is a token acknowledgement of his sovereignty. Now I do
see a couple of reasons why a person might think of the Church as a
recipient of charity. For one thing, the IRS recognizes your
contributions to the Church as charitable contributions and thus
they can be taken off your taxes. But that is where the similarity ends.
A Sacrifice to God is not a Charitable contribution, it cannot
be a few bucks here and there out of your largess, but it must be a
true Sacrifice of the first fruits. Another reason a person might put
the Church into the same category as a ‘charitable’ or ‘relief’
organization is that once each year our Anglican Church Women
accept donations of cast-off clothing, furniture and household items.
They then sell the items for you and the proceeds go to support
their particular outreach programs. Apart from this, however, the
Church should not be the recipient of cast-offs, of worn out furniture
and other items. God does not need charity. Rather, God demands
a real Sacrifice.

There is a lot of “food for thought” in this sermon; if you are thinking about your giving, it is worth reading.

(Hat tip: Bill S. of Continuing Home)

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