Rich in Every Way
Rich in Every Way
Words of Faith 8-8-17
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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1 Corinthians 16
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.
The believers in Corinth had apparently heard about the collection Paul had been receiving for God's people. There was severe need among the believers in Jerusalem many of whom were widows. Paul directed the churches in Corinth to participate in the same way as the churches in Galatia, what is now Turkey. How should that collection be gathered?
Although Jesus commended the tithe (giving one tenth) as a practical tool for giving (Matt. 23:23), Paul never mentions that word in his letters. Paul focused on systematic, proportionate giving that was brought in the right attitude of the heart. Giving for Christians was to be a weekly practice as a part of the gathering of believers. Christians in the Gentile world began meeting on Sundays as early as the third missionary journey (Act 20:7). Jewish believers probably continued to observe Sabbath in synagogues as well. Giving was to be a part of these gatherings.
Paul taught that giving should be proportionate. He may have avoided the term "tithe" because of the legalistic connotation attached to the practice in Judaism but Paul was certainly not suggesting that people neglect a proportionate gift. He was far more concerned about the heart of the giver than anything. Paul had gained a heart of generosity that he hoped would be contagious. He urged believers to be ready and excited to give "a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given" (2 Cor. 9:5).
Paul taught that "each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7). Giving was to be faithful and regular as a part of the normal gathering of the people God (Heb. 10:25).
There was no "wire transfer" or "paypal" system in the first century. Much of the special offering he carried personally. Paul asked that he not be put in a position of trying to put this offering together between the various houses in Corinth when he came to visit. The church leaders were to have the collection ready for him to receive so that he could dispatch couriers with his letter of recommendation.
In Paul's second letter to Corinth, he reminded them of the generosity of God toward them-- "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously... And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work... Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God" (2 Cor. 9:6, 8, 10-11).
What do we gather from this? The principles are universal. Giving is a part of a believer's life. It is not the calling of only a few. All are called to participate in the needs of God's people whether that be the concerns of missionaries or the normal needs for operation. It is not unspiritual to talk about money. Our giving should be systematic, regular, proportionate and cheerful. We should recognize that our God is ready to supply all that need so that we can give generously.
Father God, build in me a most generous heart. Help me to trust You in the area of my giving. Help me to find the right pattern and proportion of giving. Build in me a growing awareness of Your provision. I want to be rich in every way so that I might be generous on every occasion that this may result in thanksgiving to God. In Jesus' Name.