Summary: Paul’s call here for the Corinthians to give generously provides a great idea for us to expand our giving.
A Small Idea: “Set up a Generosity Fund.”
- v. 2.
- This passage is not about tithing to your church. It’s about a specific need in a specific church and the Corinthians choosing to give to help meet that need. Obviously, they were taking care of the needs of their own people as well, so this is about a situation “above and beyond normal tithing.”
How Would You Do It?
1. Have an envelope or an account that you give to every payday.
- v. 2.
- “first day” - They would be paid more often than we would, sometimes daily. The principle here is to give regularly from your pay.
- You may want to just have an envelope on your dresser that you put a certain amount of cash in every time you get paid. You might want to set up a savings account and put a certain amount of cash in every time you get paid. The key is to be doing it every payday over a period of time.
- Also, I think “first day” is serves as a reminder to us that we should give to this idea at the start rather than giving it whatever happens to be left over after we’ve spent everything.
2. Give generously.
- v. 2.
- “as he may prosper” - Paul doesn’t give percentages, quotas, or numbers. He just encourages each one to give generously.
- It may be that some of us could literally begin to give 30% of our income to our “Generosity Fund.” Given the wealth that many Americans enjoy, many of us could easily give away huge chunks of our funds while still caring for our needs (not our wants). For instance, Rick Warren, in light of the income that has come to him as a result of The Purpose-Driven Life, is now giving away 90% of his income and living on 10%.
- This is beyond the money that we give to our church as our regular giving.
- Whether we see this as a good idea and whether we desire to invest generously in it will in large part be determined by whether we have bought into the materialistic lies of our culture. The money goal of the American Dream is to have as extravagant a lifestyle as possible; the money goal of the Kingdom of God is to invest as heavily as possible in eternal things.
3. Use the money carefully.
- v. 3.
- Paul puts into place safeguards as to the way all this money will be spent. It will be accompanied by more than one courier to ensure that it’s not pilfered along the way or put in the wrong hands once it reaches its destination.
- We too should, whenever possible, make sure we are using our money in a way that is actually touching a need and not being wasted or abused. There are, of course, limits on being able to know if our funds will be well-utilized, but we should do what we can to make sure our money actually serves some good.
Who Would Do This?
1. A group of believers could do it for a specific time toward a specific goal.
- That is the direct situation that Paul speaks of. The whole church was to do their part. They were to do it until Paul got there - that’s the specific time. They were to do it to help the Christians in Jerusalem - that’s the specific goal.
- This could be a whole church deciding to each put aside money weekly for a month toward hurricane relief. This could be a small group deciding to each put aside money weekly for their 13-week Bible study toward sending a short-term missionary to Haiti. This could be a group of Christian friends deciding to each put aside money weekly for a year toward getting a Christian friend of their’s out of ghetto housing.
2. An individual Christian could do it on an ongoing basis while looking for needs.
- This is not directly the situation that Paul is addressing, but I think the principle that Paul is putting forward fits well with it.
- You could decide to lay aside a percentage of your income (another 1%? another 10%?) or a certain cash amount ($20? $100?) each payday. This would be your “Generosity Fund” and as the money built you could constantly be watching for needs that you could use the money to meet.
- Too often the time when there is a serious need is also a time when we are tight on cash. The beauty of this system is that we are deliberately storing up resources toward the future opportunities. When the need arises, we’re ready.
Why Should I Do This?