Sunday, February 19, 2017

Why Should I Give to the Church?

1 Corinthians 16

16 Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.

Paul finishes his letter to the Corinthian church with some final greetings and an appeal to financially support the "mother church" in Jerusalem.  The church there had material needs beyond what they could handle. In Jerusalem, there was a citywide famine, overpopulation, and double taxation.  Not only could Paul show the wider church's care for their need, but also show the interdependency of the body of Christ.  

There is a common misperception that the church is "always talking about" money.  But in reality i don't think this is the case.  Most churches do not talk about money for fear of being seen as "always talking about money".  Churches operated differently financially in Paul's day, but the principles of giving remain the same.  

Paul gives practical advice that still works today.  He says give "consistently", by setting aside a certain amount each week.  Second, he says give in keeping with your income.  Basically he is saying, "give within your means."  This is where the term "tithing" comes from.  A tithe is 10%, but the principle Paul lifts up is a giving a proportion in keeping with your income.   Although a tithe is a great goal, but some, in keeping with their income, may give a different proportion.  

The bottom line is if they follow these directions they will be prepared to give Paul an offering to take to the church in Jerusalem.  

As a result of their faithfulness, three needs get met. First, the tangible needs of the church in Jerusalem have been met.  Second, the need in each local church to give to the wider church .  And finally, each person's need to give.  We were made to give.  Being generous with our financial resources frees us from the grip of materialism.  

Giving of our time, talents or treasures is at the heart of what it means to be a disciple of Christ and ultimately is what gives meaning to our lives.  When we give we not only meet the needs of others, but meet our need to give!

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