Everywhere I traveled this fall across Oklahoma, in churches big and small, I have discovered Oklahoma Baptists faithfully giving to the Edna McMillan State Missions Offering. I saw posters tacked on the bulletin boards, inserts tucked into worship folders and envelopes in the pews. I heard Women’s Missionary Union leaders challenging the church to give, pastors taking up the offering and promotional videos playing to explain the work supported by these gifts. What a joy to see Oklahoma Baptists sharing in this work.
The State Missions Offering (SMO) is named for one if its earliest advocates and mission pioneers, Edna McMillan. The statewide goal for this year is $1.1 million. Funds received through the SMO will be used for spiritual awakening, Sunday School, church multiplication, ministerial crisis care, scholarships for partnership missions, evangelism efforts, ethnic ministries, student education, associational camps, and mission education. For a complete breakdown of the offering allocations, go to www.statemissionsok.org.
In Philippians 4, Paul thanks the church at Philippi for the offering they gave in support of his ministry. They were not a wealthy people, but they gave sacrificially. When Paul received their gift, he wrote them a letter. Consider his words.
“But I have received everything in full, and I have an abundance. I am fully supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you provided—a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Phil. 4:18-20).
Paul makes a few bold claims about the offering given by the brethren in Philippi.
Giving is service. The church in Philippi ministered to Paul’s needs by giving money. We serve one another by sharing our financial resources. We serve with our hands, our feet, our lips, our minds, and we serve the Lord with our money.
Giving is faith. The brethren at Philippi were not wealthy. When they gave to Paul’s work, they made sacrifices. They shared money that they themselves needed. Paul knew that. He promised, “God will supply your needs.” Their giving was an act of faith in the Lord Who provides.
Our giving today is an act of faith. We share freely because we believe that our Father can meet all our needs according to His riches in glory!
Giving is worship. Paul makes a remarkable claim about the offering that the church at Philippi sent. He calls their money “a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice pleasing to God.” Wow! When we give to the Lord and to His work, we are giving Him our worship. Our offering is like a sacrifice in the temple; it is like our songs of praise on Sunday morning. Our giving—sacrificial, generous, faithful—puts a smile on the face of the Father.
Thank you for giving to advance the Gospel in Oklahoma. I pray that God will richly supply your every need. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.