September 18, 2010

Giving in Jesus

 Collections for the Saints Today

“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also.'”

1 Corinthians 16:1

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Eternal Life

  When we think about giving money for the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, we should keep in mind the words of the Psalmists Asaph and David.  In Psalm 50:10-12, Asaph proclaimed: “For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.  I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine.  If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is Mine and all it contains.”  We must start any discussion of giving to the work of the Lord Jesus from the simple perspective that all that I “own” is simply the stuff that God has entrusted to me as His steward.  He owns everything on earth.  He made the earth and never conveyed His interest in it to anyone.  Not only does God own everything, He also satisfies the desire of every living thing on earth.  In Psalm  145:15-16, David declared concerning Jesus: “The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time.  You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”  Throughout the Bible, God takes daily care of everything on earth, by feeding them and satisfying their needs.

Principle of Giving

Giving Means You Give Voluntarily,

According to the Particular Need

       In the New Testament, we read about collections for the saints.  In 1 Corinthians 16:1, Paul reminded the Corinthians about a specific collection for the saints.  Paul chose this word collection (“λογείας“) carefully, and it is a rare word in the New Testament.  As research into the papyrus, inscriptions and ostraca has shown, this term does not mean a mandatory tax, but rather a special irregular, voluntary contribution from a specific locality, in this case, Corinth.   

Principle of Giving

Giving Includes Grace, Service, Ministry, Fellowship,

 Blessing, Sharing and Contributing

       Paul uses other words to describe particular giving.  In 2 Corinthians 8:7, Paul describes giving as a “gracious work” (“χάριτι“).  In 2 Corinthians 9:5, Paul refers to a “bountiful gift” (“εὐλογίαν“), which derives from the root word for blessing.  In 2 Corinthians 9:12, Paul describes a “ministry of service” (“ διακονία τῆς λειτουργίας“) to the saints in need.  This same theme of giving as “service” (“διακονία“) to God appears in 2 Corinthians 8:4, 9:1, 9:12; Romans 15:25, 31.  In Romans 15:26, Paul uses the term “contribution” (“κοινωνίαν“) to describe the giving from Macedonia and Achaia for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem (see also 2 Corinthians 8:4 “the grace and fellowship of the service” (“τὴν χάριν καὶ τὴν κοινωνίαν τῆς διακονίας“) to the saints.  Therefore, we see that giving to the saints includes the concepts of grace, service, ministry, fellowship, blessing, sharing and contributing to their needs.

Principle of Giving

Giving Means that God Has Total Authority

To Direct All Your Finances

       In 1 Corinthians 16:1, Paul also mentions the churches in Galatia.  As we see in Acts 13-14, Paul went through the Roman province of Galatia and founded churches in Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe on his First Missionary Journey.  Paul uses the term “directed” (“διέταξα“) here and in 1 Corinthians 7:17.  In that context, Paul delivers authoritative apostolic teaching from Jesus to the churches about marriage.  Likewise, in 1 Corinthians 9:14, Paul writes that the Lord “directed” (“διέταξεν“) those who proclaim the Gospel should get their living from the Gospel.  Finally, in 1 Corinthians 11:34, Paul tells the Corinthians that he will “arrange” (“διατάξομαι“) the other matters when he comes.  From these uses of the term “direct” and related words,  we see that apostolic authority lay behind this reference, and Paul had used that power in urging the Galatian churches to contribute to the needs of the poor saints in Jerusalem.  Therefore, in 1 Corinthians 16:1, Paul makes an allusion to the collections in the churches of Galatia, but he does not make it a matter of direct apostolic authority with the Corinthians, as his use of the softer term for collection shows above.  The Corinthians did not need a command to give, but rather direction in getting their gift together.

        So, we learn some more about giving in Christ.

         ●  We learn that giving starts with a voluntary choice to give, knowing that God owns everything you have in your possession.

      ●  We learn to give better by knowing that God wants us to support the poor saints, wherever they live on earth.  The Corinthians were to give to the poor saints in Jerusalem.

        ●  We hinder our giving when we do so only under the compulsion.  When we view giving as part of our loving service, blessing, fellowship, and sharing of God’s love to other members of God’s worldwide family, then we grow in the grace of giving.

Application for Today

        Today, I want to consider how much of God’s money and material wealth I should use for myself.  I know many saints who need help just to get by and live each month.  How much will you give today?


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