Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. II Corinthians 9:7
The music begins, and people dance down the aisles to deposit their gifts and return, dancing, to their seats. Another song begins, and another group repeats the process of dancing down the aisle to deposit a handful of treasure. This will continue for up to an hour until everyone has an opportunity to dance and joyfully give his or her gift.
Offering time in Nebbi, Uganda, is something one must see and experience to believe. These beautiful people who some might describe as economically challenged prove themselves to be some of the wealthiest in the world in their giving to their Lord. With joy and thanksgiving everyone dances to the front as his or her zone moves forward in time with their special song.
I remember being in one congregation where the gifts were vegetables from the garden or bags that jumped around during the service as cherished small farm animals were given in thanksgiving. The focus of the offertory was expressing gratitude for God’s abundance poured out in the lives of his children.
At home in Texas most of my giving is online. My church, missionaries, and organizations that I support all encourage online giving. I never get to dance. The closest thing to Nebbi offerings that I experience here is when our church has our Noisy Offering: all the children grab pots and pans, spittoons and buckets, anything that makes noise when change is tossed in. One cannot avoid giving—the children are seriously in your face until you put something in their containers. And they do dance back to the front to lively, joyous music.
I really do believe God loves cheerful givers, and it’s so much more fun.
Lord, our hearts burst with gratitude for your generosity that never seems to end. Remind us that “all things come of thee, oh Lord, and of thine own we have given thee.” In Jesus’ name. AMEN.