Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Vision (10/21/10): The Importance of Regular Giving

Note: We are giving special focus to stewardship in the month of October. The following article is written by CRBC Treasurer Daniel Houseworth.

How many of us have heard genuine believers make the following or similar statements?

- “I am under no obligation to give to the church because the New Testament says that God only wants cheerful givers.”

- “It is legalistic to say that the Bible says I am to tithe. That is an Old Testament concept and you cannot find it in the New Testament.”

- “I do give to the church, but to me the church is not just the place where I worship on Sunday; instead I like to give to many different ministries.”

In contrast with these prevailing opinions, the apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote in 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, “[N]ow concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also. On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.” From this passage we can derive several principles –
• Paul himself clearly “ordered” a particular collection imparting the principle that giving is obligatory not optional.

• The collection took place on the first day of the week (Sunday) imparting the principle that giving is normally to be done when the church gathers for worship.

• The collected amount was laid aside as a believer “may prosper” imparting the principle that giving is to be proportional.

• The collection occurred over time imparting the principle that giving is to be done regularly.

In addition to these principles, I would suggest that Paul’s order was built on the foundational principle of regular giving, i.e. tithing, to the local church. Note that this particular collection was to be taken from a local congregation for use elsewhere. While physical depravity and need were constants during the Apostolic era (and remain so today in many parts of the world), abject poverty was not a virtue in and of itself. Paul would not seek to deprive any local body of its own financial needs. Instead he sought to admonish the church in Corinth (and us) regarding Biblical stewardship.

For application, I would encourage each of us to do the following:

1. Continue to tithe (or start tithing) to CRBC to meet the financial needs of the congregation. This applies to members as well as regular attendees because CRBC is where we gather as brothers and sisters in Christ on the first day of the week.

2. Regularly set aside an additional amount to give to the Mercy Fund. This will allow us to meet the needs of those within our own congregation and beyond just as the church in Corinth was doing to relive the famine stricken church in Jerusalem.

3. Consider regularly giving beyond the tithe to the CRBC general fund. Surely we who have Jesus Christ, “who has become a surety of a better covenant,” (Hebrews 7:22) can exceed the basic and enduring tithe requirement established under the old covenant.

As we give our tithes and offering, we should do so out of thankfulness for the glorious salvation we have in Christ, “giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Ephesians 5:20) for God indeed “loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 2:7b). What more could cheer a man’s heart than know that he is a sinner saved by the grace of God?

Daniel Houseworth

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