(Picture taken at the St Louis Zoo with a Canon 5D Mark II at f/13 @ 35 mm, 1s, ISO 100)
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. Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. - I Corinthians 16:1-3 (NIV)
I have done some figuring. If I had in my pocket what I have given to the Lord’s work over the years I could:
But, I don’t do those things. Why? Because my wife Debbie and I have learned over the years a few things about giving to the Lord’s work:
There is one Biblical principle that is often overlooked in our materialistic world today: as Christians we are “stewards!”
That’s a Biblical word that means “caretaker.” A steward does not own a thing; he simply manages the possessions of another. In our case as Christians, we simply understand that God owns it all and we are simply caring for His possessions! All that we have: our possessions, our abilities, our energy, our time and our talents belong to the Lord! Therefore, we should not be offended when He directs us on how to use what is His.
God’s Word, the Bible, has a lot to say about money.
Allow me to share with you six biblical lessons about giving:
1. Giving is a universal practice.
Paul said this was not just for the believers in Corinth, but for the churches of Galatia also! Jesus said in Matthew 10:8, “Freely you have received, freely give.” Because every believer has received so much from the Lord, every believer should give back to the work of the Lord.
2. Giving is to be a weekly practice.
Paul said that we are to give on the “first day of the week.” Early Jewish believers moved their day of worship from Saturday to Sunday to commemorate the resurrection of the Lord. Therefore, Paul said to give on that day of the week. We are not to give spasmodically, or when we feel that we can afford to give. The bible indicates that giving is to be a part of our weekly worship!
3. Giving is to be a personal act.
I Corinthians 16:2 says, "Let each one of you…” Giving is not just for the comfortable and the wealthy—everyone should give—even kids! Why? Because giving is part of our worship to God.
4. Giving is to be a predetermined plan.
I Corinthians 16:2 says, " Set aside a sum of money.” There are many people that give because of emotional appeals or special needs. There are many that give a little week-by-week, almost like tipping the waitress at a restaurant. But God wants us to have a predetermined systematic amount that we intentionally bring to worship to give to the Lord. Waiting until Sunday to see what is left over IS NOT taught in the bible.
5. Giving is to be a proportioned amount.
I Corinthians 16:2 says, " Set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income.” We are to give in proportion to what we receive. We are never to give equal gifts, but we are told in Scripture to make equal sacrifices!
6. Giving is to be handled responsibly.
I Corinthians 16:3, Paul says, “I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem." The church at Corinth was to certify trustworthy people to handle the money. We are to give sacrificially, then we are to handle God’s money responsibly and efficiently.
In closing, let us evaluate our lives in the area of our “giving.” Ask yourself these questions: