My wife and I each get paid once per month.  That stinks because we go an entire month without getting paid.  However, it makes it easier to budget our money since it all comes in at the same time.  One result of getting paid only once per month is that we write one monthly tithing check.  We take 10% off the top, cut a check, drop it in the offering plate, and unless we feel led to give otherwise we are done for an entire month. 

That means we regularly go three, sometimes four Sundays without putting anything in the offering plate.  And to be honest, it can be awkward at times.  There are only so many ways that you can casually pass an empty plate without looking like you feel guilty.  So just in case you ever find yourself in a similar situation, I have decided to share my secrets with you.

1.  Look busy. – Because I teach Sunday School, I often have some sort of computer bag to carry my materials and I take it with me to the sanctuary.  Sometimes, when the offering plate is coming my way, I decide to start digging in the bag to get something I really do not need.  That way, I can pass the plate as if it is inconveniently preventing me from finding what I am looking for in my bag.  If you do not carry a bag of any type, I suggest you act as though you are searching the church bulletin or even your Bible for something specific.  Make sure you look busy, just be sure it looks natural.

2.  Look oblivious. – This one is pretty easy for me, as my wife tells me I am a natural at looking lost and confused.  But when using this technique, you basically just stare off into space.  Maybe you are pondering the words to the worship song that just finished.  Perhaps you are trying to decide whether to attend the upcoming potlock.  Or maybe you are wondering how you are going to make it home in time for kick-off.  Just find something that will make you get that distant look in your eyes.  Then when somebody nudges you with the offering plate, you can look genuinely surprised as if you had no idea it was time for the offering.

3.  Bathroom break. – As far as timing goes, it is probably most important when using this technique.  (Did I just refer to using the bathroom as a technique?)  If you leave your seat too late, it will be too suspicious and people will know you are leaving to avoid the offering plate.  If you leave too early, you look like you are not interested in the service and you just don’t want to be at church.  Timing is everything.

If you ask me, your tithes and offerings are really between you and God.  However, that does not change the fact that the offering plate has some sort of mythical powers that haunt you for not feeding it.  So the next time you find yourself on a bye week for giving, feel free to use any of the techniques above to dodge the empty plate.

Do you have any techniques that you use to avoid awkward situations?

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