Although Paul is reminding the Christians in Corinth of their commitment to take up a collection for the believers in Jerusalem, he also takes this opportunity to remind them of the principles of Christian giving.
We should give sacrificially [8:2]. Paul writes about the amazing generosity of the Christians in Macedonia who gave so bountifully but out of their poverty. Many years ago I was ministering in a wealthy church in Indonesia and was amazed at the size of the Sunday offering. I mentioned it to the pastor, and have never forgotten his response. He said, “Don’t look at how much people give, but how much they keep back for themselves!”
One day Jesus watched a poor widow put two coins into the Temple treasury “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has” [Luke 21:3-4 NLT].
Some years ago a church in Croydon held a special “first-fruits” offering. People would bring their gift in an envelope to the front of the church where an elder would receive it and pray for the person giving their offering. One lady brought her offering, and later when the envelope was opened we discovered just two pence. This woman’s offering puzzled the elders. A week later the same woman called by the church and gave a gift to the church of £100. She explained that the two pence was the last money she had and that she had been unsuccessful in getting one of the many jobs she had applied for. After giving her two pence first fruits of offering she had received a telephone call and was offered a job. The £100 was the first money she had earned and she wanted to give it in total to the Lord.
King David wanted to buy a piece of land on which to build an altar to the Lord. Araunah the Jebusite offered David his land, the animals for the sacrifice and the wood to build the altar as a gift. He said to David, “I will give it all to you, Your Majesty, and may the LORD your God accept your sacrifice.”
But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the LORD my God that have cost me nothing.” So David paid him fifty pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen [2 Samuel 24:23-24].
Why do you think that David was so insistent on not giving to the Lord that which had cost him nothing?
What do you think of the statement, “God is not so much concerned with what you give to Him as to the spirit in which you give it?”
Why is giving such an important part of the Christian life?
Have you ever given something to the Lord that was really costly to you?
What did you experience as a result of giving that offering to the Lord?