When you see a T.V. film of starving children, don’t you feel that you simply can’t rest until you’ve sent some money to the causes trying to feed them? Far be it from me to want to quench such a response for some of the great movements in caring for the needy have begun in that way: but purely emotional giving mainly serves to make the giver feel good. ‘I’ve done my bit, now it’s up to others’, so we are off the hook.The Bible wants us to feel compassion, and never to turn a stony heart towards real need, but it also prescribes a more excellent way which we call systematic giving. Why, even the Government has passed laws so that money covenanted to a registered charity should not be taxed. It can be claimed back by that church or charity. Systematic giving is recognised!
Paul was for ever giving himself, his skills, his time, his very life itself for his fellow Christians, and he wanted all Christians to develop the giving habit, so that when emergencies struck there were resources ready to meet the need at once. He discovered and taught that systematic giving to God’s work was a source of genuine and continuing joy from which no one should be excluded. Systematic giving sets us free from impulsive motivation. When we give by habit, by system, then long term help is made possible. Paul moved without incongruity or pausing from the wonders of resurrection theology, in I Corinthians Chapter 15, to these words:
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. If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.
I Corinthians 16:1-4
Thank you Lord that we are never more like you than when we develop a habit of giving and sharing dependably, lovingly and generously.
Now read I Corinthians 15:35 to 16:4.