“Now about the collection for God’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 his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.” (1 Corinthians 16:1-2)
Paul the Apostle has just finished perhaps the most inspirational chapter in the entire Bible (1 Corinthians 15), which details the glories of the resurrection from the dead that awaits all God’s well-loved children. What undeserved wonders–forgiveness of all sins, a wonderful new life which begins now, and incorruptible bodies– that will take us into eternity future to enjoy life with God for ever and ever! After detailing these blessings, Paul’s very next breath addresses practical considerations of congregational life: serving the Lord and contributing to the local church.
And there’s a reason for this.
Christian giving, as with all Christian graces, is a response. We give because we have received; we love because we have been loved; we forgive because we have been forgiven. Paul talks to the Corinthians about consistent, responsible giving that supports the work of the ministry. Giving is first and foremost the worship of God.
Grateful hearts respond by giving. Through giving we also acknowledge that all things belong to God, and that all that we have comes from Him. The Lord then uses our giving to sustain His cause, the ministry of the Gospel here on earth. When God’s people give to Him, the needs of congregational life are met: The gospel is preached, lives are healed and set free, marriages and families are strengthened and the lost are saved–and those doing the preaching and teaching have their needs met.
But none of these things are really possible without the grace of giving. No giving means no church. So instead of exempting ourselves from contributing, we must always remind ourselves of our Christian duty, more than that, our Christian privilege, to freely give as we have freely received. The funny thing is, when we do give, we are the ones most blessed.