By Not Known
Some have asserted that giving is difficult because giving requires us to let go
and to give up. It means losing something. Our culture tells us to hoard and to
gather. When we give up and lose, we are being disadvantaged. Therefore to
give is to lose control or to give our power away. Something that is
contradictory to what we have been taught. We were always told to protect
what we have and to guard against anyone who would come and take control
or advantage of what we had amassed.
On the other hand, it may be easier to receive; just be thick-skinned, they
say. But to receive is having an advantage over others.
In this last chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul called for a collection for the saints.
A collection that was made necessary due to circumstances. It speaks of
efforts among his audience to help those in need. In fact, Paul mentioned this
in his letter to the Galatian Christians as well. Yet the reason for their needs
was not as important as the need for his audience to ensure that their faith
would be at work because of their love for others. For Paul it was almost like a
commandment as he said, “I have given orders… so you must do also.“
Paul went on to talk about the need for systematic, as against haphazard
giving. And this is for “each of you” which strongly suggests that there should
be no exception, everyone should give. Moreover this is to be done regularly
not as and when we feel like it but as often as weekly on “the first day of the
week.” This habit is to be intentional and thought of well in advance as in “lay
something aside, storing up…” indicating pre-planned, pre-determined, and
pre-prepared actions, not when the offering bag is right in front of us.
The way we are to give is accordingly and proportionately as God has
prospered us. We are also to give generously and cheerfully as against
grudgingly and on second thought.
Paul also added that he didn’t want to make any special collection when he
came to them. He pointed out that there should be no manipulation but to
give from the heart as God has impressed on them. The problem for many is
that we would choose to listen to our own hearts rather than to God in this
How should we then give? Tithing in the Old Testament is a strict requirement
of 1O% but it may lead to obligatory giving. We give generously and cheerfully
for God is first in our hearts and we give him first place in everything. Our
lives are sacrifices in worship and we cannot cheat God with our presentation
of sacrifices to him.