God’s word is both practical and doctrinal. If you look at 1 Corinthians chronologically, chapter 15 is on the resurrection and heaven. This world is not our home. Heaven is our home. There is more to this life than this life. Paul closes the book in chapter 16 talking about laying up treasure in heaven. He gives us a glimpse of heaven and guidelines for the here and now. Paul was giving all the churches instructions concerning the offering (v. 1). Nothing promotes love, tears down walls, and opens doors for the gospel like generosity.
It is a Priority
Last week, we saw how our giving must be a priority. Verse 2 says, “On the first day of the week….” God must be first. He cannot be second. When God is not first in your life everything is out of order. When we are generous, we are saying Jesus is Lord.
It is Personal
Verse 2 also says, “…let each one of you….” The command is for each one of us. There is no exception or exemption clause. On judgment day each one of us will stand before God alone and give an account for what we did with what He gave us.
It is a Percentage
We also saw last week that our giving should be a percentage. Paul says each should give “as he may prosper” (v. 2). The tithe is 10%. Every time God gives you ten one-dollar bills, you give back one to God and you keep nine. Don’t give God the leftovers!
It is Purposeful
As we look further into the text, we also see that there is a purpose in our giving. Paul tells the churches it was so “that there be no collections when I come” (v. 2). He did not want to take time away from teaching and ministry. We take a weekly offering so we do not have to worry about whether we can afford to pay the bills or keep missionaries on the field. That is why we have a General Fund and a budget. That is why we tithe to the local church. That is why we have The Big Give at the end of the year. We share the vision of what God is leading us to do, then week to week we have church and do ministry. In 2 Corinthians 9:6-11, we read the promise of the law of the harvest. Giving to God’s work is not a loss but an investment. When a farmer sows seed, he does not lose seed, but he gains a harvest. When we invest in spiritual things it gets God involved in our finances. God does not give us seed to hoard or consume but to plant and invest. We can thank God today in advance knowing He supplies all we need and more!
It is Protected
In verse 3 we read that Paul was not carrying the money personally. He was protecting the funds and protecting his reputation and testimony. That is why as Pastor I do not handle the money. The offerings are collected by a group of ushers, carried by a security team, and we have a group of tellers who come weekly and count. Justin Greene is our CFO. He is also a CPA and has been on staff 18 years. He is accountable to a Stewardship Team of lay people who get regular reports. We have an internal audit by Bobby Turner who has been here over 30 years. We pay for an annual external audit. We are committed to a high degree of accountability with the finances of the church because we take God’s money very seriously. We are also accredited by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.
It is Prompted
Paul was so excited about the collection that he wanted to be a part of it (v. 4). He was not embarrassed to be associated with it. God made all of creation to give – the sun, the moon, the stars, the clouds, the earth, the plants, and people. The curse of sin causes fallen humanity to be reluctant to give. One of the ways we know Jesus has changed our lives is our desire and willingness to be generous. Look at Zacchaeus in Luke 19. He was a rich business man who got saved and went right past tithing. He did not give 10%, he gave 50%! Follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit when He nudges you.
God so loved the world He gave. He gave you life and He wants to give you eternal life, abundant life. God offers you today His provision, His protection, His presence, His peace, His pardon. How do you receive it? By faith. Have you accepted His gift today?