Patterns for Our Giving - Truth For Life - March 22
Truth For Life Daily, with Alistair Begg
Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul spends most of his time soaring among the glories of the resurrection and then ends with the wonderful reminder that our labor in the Lord is not in vain. What would you expect to come next? What would you predict would be a practical application of the resurrection’s life-changing reality?
I imagine your answers would not include “financial stewardship.” And yet this is precisely where Paul takes his readers: “Now concerning the collection for the saints…” Our financial stewardship is not, it turns out, an “unspiritual” part of life, disconnected from things that really matter. Rather, stewardship is an aspect of the work we do in the name of our risen Lord on this side of our own resurrection.
While Paul’s instructions here were given specifically for a collection for the believers in Jerusalem, they are instructive for us in our own contexts. There are three principles that he lays out, and each should shape our own giving.
First, Paul wants giving to be regular and deliberate: “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper.” This was to take place on the first day of every week. For many of us, regular giving keeps us disciplined and prevents us from waiting until we “feel like” giving. Whether it’s weekly, monthly, or at other set times, regular giving is Paul’s wise instruction.
Second, giving should be proportionate. Funds were to be set aside by each person “as he may prosper”—or, as the NIV puts it, “in keeping with your income.” That leaves the details very much with the individual. God is the one with whom we need to deal, because He’s the one who searches our hearts, and He knows whether our giving is in keeping with what He has given into our care.
Third, we are to give to our family of faith first and foremost. The collection to which Paul refers is being made in churches and for churches. Where we are spiritually fed is where we contribute first (1 Timothy 5:17-18). The local church and then the wider church are not necessarily the only places that should receive our giving, but they are the primary places.
Your task now is to consider whether your own giving patterns need to be changed according to these principles. Ultimately, this is a personal matter, but it is also a profoundly spiritual matter, flowing out of our love and devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ, who has risen, is reigning, and shall return. Be assured, therefore, that as you strive for faithfulness in your giving, that striving will not be in vain.
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Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.