I can’t stand the term ‘love offering’. Let me be clear. I don’t mind giving money and supporting ministries or appeals that seem to me to be worthy of support. But the term ‘love offering’, apart from seeming twee, seems to obligate people to give. The term ‘love offering’ is emotive, and conveys an expectation that everyone will give since we are all to love one another. It can be a manipulative name for an offering. How can one say no to the ‘love’ offering? Perhaps the love offering becomes for some a ‘guilt’ offering. What does it imply if we do not give?
Why not just call it a free will offering? After all, that is how we are supposed to give – freely. There is no guilt attached if we think the teaching is off and can’t bring ourselves to support it financially. There is less implied expectation of people – they can give as they are able, or not at all. People won’t feel guilty of ‘loving’ any less by not giving.
Assuming that an offering is taken, if a less emotive term were used, visiting preachers may find they need to preach freely too, with the possibility of reward, but not the same expectation of it. Preaching may then become an expression of their love – freely given, regardless of reaction. The potential appearance of peddling the gospel is reduced.
Sometimes it is more loving not to give – not to support harmful teaching. How can it be loving to support the propogation of things which hurt people?
A free will offering won’t prevent people giving when they do desire from their heart to support a ministry or when they do want to express love to someone by donating money. For example, a member of the congregation being sent out may in fact be the recipient of money as a genuine token of affection and support from their brethren, or it may be a genuine token of compassion and support for another church experiencing hard times.
The term ‘love offering’ equates the giving of money with the giving of love. It may also equate the measurement of affection with the amount of money. The more money you give, the more you love. They may sometimes correlate, but there are many other ways of showing love that do not have to do with money at all.
Is it just me that finds the term ‘love offering’ a source of irritation?