OUR ROOTS IN GIVING
Read: 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, Romans 15:25-28
1 Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 3 Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me. (NIV 1 Corinthians 16:1-4)
25 Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. 27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings. 28 So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. (NIV Romans 15:25-28)
Study: Paul counseled Christians, “Carry each other’s burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). That wasn’t just a nice abstract sentiment, limited to personal caring. When Christians in Jerusalem faced adversity, Paul’s Gentile converts in churches in Greece and Macedonia sent an offering to help the Jerusalem believers. Paul guided the collection and delivery of that offering, and was proud the Gentile churches wanted to help other churches. In these passages, we find references to Galatia, Macedonia and Achaia, three geographic areas in which Paul planted churches. Look them up on a map in the back of your Bible (or online, if you prefer) to see what a wide range of still-young churches sent help to Jerusalem. What important values get lost when congregations see themselves as competitors or rivals, rather than as part of the same global fellowship of believers?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, expand my mental horizons. As you care for all of your people, help me to find joy both in what my church does right here, and also in the times when we can help other Christians I may not even know personally. Amen.