1 Corinthians 16:1-14 – Wrapping Up

Read 1 Corinthians 16:1-14

thumbs up with face on the thumb

Paul has dealt with a lot of big issues facing the young church in Corinth. The last one before he closes this letter deals with their giving. It was important then, and it is important now. I always appreciate when I am part of a congregation that is mission focused. Living as a missionary here in Mexico has given me a whole new perspective.

Paul’s wisdom on collecting for missions is based on consistency. First, he uses a model that is consistent with another church. When you find a process that works, it’s easy for others to rely on and model after it. Paul is also urging them to set aside their offerings consistently. “Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once.” When we put a little away each week, it is much easier to be generous.

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Deuteronomy 15:1-11 – Release From Debts

Read Deuteronomy 15:1-11

God’s economy presented here to the Israelites seems to be very generous. If you are in debt to another, that debt is cancelled every seven years. From the reading, it appears the cycle is the same for everyone (except foreigners). On a given day, all debts with other Israelites are forgiven and life goes on. Can you imagine doing business like that?

God’s promised blessing was for those who obeyed. Who wouldn’t want to obey God to have their debts forgiven every seven years? I realize I’m writing these words in a time when the economy has taken a big hit from a pandemic. Many are wondering how they are going to make their mortgage payments and car payments. They are watching their credit card debt skyrocket. Oh, to have a year of release coming up would be like answered prayer! Some communities around the world are doing something to lessen the financial blow by not expecting payments for rent or other debts, no interest or penalty charges to be applied, and so forth. That will be a huge relief to many.

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Deuteronomy 14:22-29 – Giving Your Tithe

Read Deuteronomy 14:22-29

This was an interesting passage for me. I am aware of how we tithe today. That is, setting aside 10% of our income to give it to the Lord. Since we don’t have grain or herds or such, that is how we show our faithfulness. Giving back to God a portion of what is already his is how I understand tithing works.

Why do we tithe? Moses would say, “doing this will teach you always to fear the Lord your God.” For me, it’s also a way of honoring God and giving thanks for his provision. Having a mindset of gratefulness and showing that by giving back is such a joyful practice. Even when I have had little to give, there was a joy or peace in sharing.

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2 Corinthians 9:1-15 – How Much to Give?

Read 2 Corinthians 9:1-15

In my post from 2 Corinthians 8, we heard Paul’s teaching on giving and how we should see it as a privilege and not an obligation. What exactly are we giving? Perhaps it’s our time. Perhaps it’s a portion of our income. Perhaps it’s both. What we give is between us and God. Here again, Paul teaches that we should give cheerfully.

I don’t know about you, but from my experience when I am generous with my giving, it just feels good. There is some satisfaction about putting our tithe in the offering each week. Even when it was an auto-deduct from our bank account, I knew it was happening and it gave me joy. God can do so much more with that gift than I can by holding on to it.

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2 Corinthians 8:1-15 – The Gift of Giving

Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-15

Such a beautiful passage about giving. I know the church gets a bad rap at times from people who don’t understand the discipline of giving. I’ve heard people complain that all churches do is ask for money. I feel sad for those people who haven’t encountered Jesus in a way that has touched their heart to overflowing. Only then does giving seem like it is something we WANT do and not something we HAVE to do.

Paul’s words here are very helpful. When we see giving as a “privilege,” we are starting to understand. Paul starts out by using an example of the people in Macedonia. They must be going through some difficult times, yet they are giving way more than they can afford. They have the joy of the Lord overflowing, and this is resulting in their “rich” generosity. Paul says, “their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.”

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