‘Now about the collection…’ (1 Corinthians 16:1 NIV)
I can almost hear the groans as you read a title that includes the word ‘Money’.
Someone is bound to think, ‘oh no this is an appeal for money’.
It’s like the preacher who was building up to a crescendo in his sermon, when he said,
“This church, like the crippled man, has got to get up and walk” and the congregation responded, “That’s right, reverend, let it walk.” And he added, “This church, like Elijah on Mount Carmel, has got to run” “Run, let it run, preacher.” “This church has got to mount up on the wings of eagles and fly.” “Let it fly, preacher. Let it fly.” Then the preacher added, “Now if this church is going to fly, it’s going to take money.” Then the congregation all spoke up in unison, “Let it walk, preacher. Let it walk.”
But nevertheless I’m addressing the subject of Christian stewardship not because I’m after your shekels, but because the Bible has a great deal to say about money.
One such example is found in 1 Corinthians 16 where Paul gives us some important guidelines regarding giving.
First, every Christian believer is to give. This was guidance
‘for the Lord’s people’ (v.1) and
‘for each one of you’ (v.2). Giving isn’t to be an optional extra for Christians. Each one of them is to contribute toward the needs of the saints in Jerusalem.
Second, Paul did not set down a rule as to how much each must give. There are no numbers or percentages given which must be met. Paul left the amount to be given up to each person,
‘in keeping with [their] income’. (v.2)
Third, Paul told the Corinthians to think carefully about their contribution to determine what they would give, and do so consistently. This was not to be just a one off donation, but something to be done
‘every week’ (v.2) having planned for it by
‘saving it up’ (v.2)
And fourth, Paul is showing that our giving is in grateful response for what Jesus has done for us. It is no coincidence that Paul addressed the matter of giving following a chapter on the resurrection in which he wrote:
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Jesus died for our sins…[and] was raised on the third day…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
I believe Paul wants the Corinthians, and us, to make decisions regarding our responsibility to give to the church in the context of the cross and resurrection of Jesus, of His gift of salvation, and of our worship and praise of Him.
If we have tasted of the grace of God through Jesus, let’s be motivated to give generously.
Father, as Jesus cheerfully and willingly gave his life for us may we be cheerful, willing givers in your service, in Christ’s name we pray.
Have a good week being a cheerful giver,