The Face in the Plate
Posted on November 14, 2018 | Posted by Annie Saunders
My wife Robbi and I can be classified as dinosaurs when it comes to most modern technologies. We still enjoy the feel of completing and signing a paper check. We take true pleasure in addressing and sealing an envelope; carefully affixing a stamp in the upper right-hand corner and dropping off the mailing in the US Postal Service collection box.
For those of you under the age of thirty; please feel free to Google the terms “paper check” and “US Postal Service.” Someday I will really blow your mind and introduce you to the concept of a fax!
We follow the same process when it comes to our weekly offering. Yes, we are keenly aware of all the reasons for electronic payment; and we see the value of participating in the Simply Giving program. But truth be told, there is a certain nostalgic comfort in writing a check, completing the offering envelope, and depositing the packet into the offering plate. Some might see it all as an antiquated ritual; we choose to see it as forming a special spiritual connection.
During one recent late morning service, the congregation was preparing to make the offering. As has always been my habit, I reached into the back right pocket of my slacks. There, I retrieved our offering envelope from my very own personal filing system. As long as there is not a hole in that pocket; God is in His place and all is right with my world.
My philosophical musings were abruptly interrupted as the smiling usher came around and placed the brass offering plate in my hand. I gingerly dropped our envelope onto the padded red cushion within the plate. Robbi and I shared a familiar smiling glance, as the heavy metal plate was passed down the rest of the row.
I was still feeling the afterglow of The Sharing of the Peace. This has always been my favorite part of the service. It is an opportunity to connect personally with fellow congregants, form a unique bond together, and publicly recognize our shared sense of spiritual purpose. This had just been followed by the heart-warming effect of making our offering. But something just did not feel quite right!
My mind was reeling as I replayed the events of the previous few minutes. What was it? Then it struck me. It was that offering plate! As I had dropped our envelope into the metallic dish; I momentarily caught my reflection on the highly-polished rim. In my universe, nothing happens by accident. Why had this simple and unassuming episode etched itself so deeply into my thoughts?
In seeing my face reflected right back at me; I was receiving a subtle, yet powerful message. I was not merely making an offering of treasure to our church; supporting our mission, ministries, and operations. I was also making an offering of myself; sharing of my gifts and talents. God was reminding me that I was blessed and that I needed to share that precious gift!
Recently, a dear member of our congregation introduced me to the concept of “Blessed to be a Blessing.” If we take all the blessings in our life and manifest them to the benefit of others; then we are a blessing to them; and as such, are doubly blessed ourselves. I am no theoretical physicist by any means; but that math seems somewhat elementary to me.
That reflection in the offering plate was not coincidental. It was a reminder that I can make an offering on many levels. Sure, the simple envelope in the plate is a financial gift; but there are so many other gifts of time and talent that I can share with our church, our community, and the world.
As the offering plate meanders down the row each service; all of us are being invited by God to offer even more. So, when you see your face in the plate; will you heed that call?
–By Jerry V. Dollar