‘Though there’s pain in the offering, blessed be your name.’

That line from Matt Redman’s Blessed be Your Name has a double-meaning for me. Yes, it’s about praising God even though pain is on the way, but there’s another meaning too. It may not have been in Redman’s mind when he wrote the song, but nevertheless it’s a way of understanding the words that I sometimes think about. Especially when I receive the offering at church. It’s about the pain of giving.

I sometimes wonder how much pain there is in the offering. Whether the giving is easy. Or whether for some it hurts. Sometimes giving is meant to be difficult, hard, and a struggle.

Not all of our giving has to be sacrificial but sometimes the Lord asks that of us. To give until it hurts. That kind of painful offering is, I suspect, an aspect of giving that many followers of Jesus in the west know little or nothing about.

‘Though there’s pain in the offering’ is, I believe, a prophetic word for some followers of Jesus in this coming year. It may also be a message for whole communities too – to experience the goodness that comes through sacrificial giving.

Mother Theresa knew something of this. She knew that God honoured her for living this way and as a result did wonderful things through her. But it wasn’t easy. She expressed it like this: ‘I must be willing to give whatever it takes to do good to others. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is no true love in me, and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.’

‘Though there’s pain I’m the offering, blessed be your name.’