Summary: As I read our verses for today, we see Paul teaching us about the spiritual exercise of giving. You also can call it a habit, a discipline, a requirement, a command, or some other term, but today as we think about tithing and giving gifts to God...
How Buff is Your Wallet?
THREAD: HOW BUFF IS YOUR WALLET?
As we begin today, I would like us to read together the Scriptures that we will focus on. We are looking at just two verses in the book of 1 Corinthians. We have been looking this year at the Apostle’s teaching. We looked at 1st and 2nd Peter. We studied 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John. Now we look at some writings of the Apostle Paul. Paul wrote many books in the New Testament and informs us much about our Christian faith. Let’s read together this morning from 1 Corinthians 16:1-2. There are only two verses so let us read them together out loud.
READ [TOGETHER] 1 CORINTHIANS 16:1-2
Now about the collection for God'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 his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
The topic that Paul is addressing in 1 Corinthians 16 is money. He says the word in the verses. He is not talking about collecting food or clothes or anything else, but specifically talking about the giving and collecting of money in the church. The Apostle Paul does not shy away from money in his letters and addresses it when it is appropriate. Paul teaches us much about giving actually…
For example… 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
For example … 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
The Apostle Paul has important Truth for us on the topic of giving. He shares it in many of his letters. As I read our verses for today, we see Paul teaching us about the spiritual exercise of giving. You also can call it a habit, a discipline, a requirement, a command, or some other term, but today as we think about tithing and giving gifts to God, I would like us to think of it as a spiritual exercise. Based on that thought, as giving as a spiritual exercise, I ask the question:
THREAD: HOW BUFF IS YOUR WALLET?
As with most things, exercise needs preparation. The preparation before exercise is called TV watching. No, that’s not right. The preparation before exercise is called stretching. According to Healthy Living (healthyliving.azcentral.com/purpose-stretching-6491.html), stretching is a deliberate release and contraction of a muscle or muscle group to increase elasticity and build strength. The American Council on Exercise lists four principal benefits of stretching: (1) Greater range of motion and improved posture; (2) the release of tension, soreness and stiffness; (3) reduced risk for injury; and (4) enhanced mental and physical relaxation.
The exercise of giving is no different. There is stretching that needs to occur. There is preparation that needs to occur before the actual exercise of giving. The Apostle Paul focuses on the preparation in the verses that we read this morning.
Over the centuries people have come up with a lot of different ideas about Christian stewardship and giving. There’s a story told about a couple of guys who were discussing their approaches to giving. One man said, “Here’s how I decide how much to give. I cash my paycheck in small bills, then I go home a draw circle on the floor. I throw the money into the air and whatever falls into the circle is God’s.” The other guy said, “I think my way is even better. On payday, I cash my check in small bills. When I get home, I toss the money in the air, and whatever God catches he can keep.”
Stretching before the exercise of giving does not mean that! Stretching before the exercise of giving means two activities based on what Paul has told us:
#1 “Set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income”: God expects everyone to give. God deserves every one of us to give back to Him because He has blessed us first. God is justified in asking that we worship Him by giving back to Him a portion of what He has given us. We should note, in these verses, that Paul does not say that all of us should give the same amount. The amount is not the same for each person.
The Apostle Paul sets forth the principle that as we are preparing to give, that we give “in keeping with our income.” Based on the history of giving back to God found in Genesis 14:20, Leviticus 27, Numbers 18, Deuteronomy 14, 2 Chronicles 31, Nehemiah 10, and Malachi 3:10 the amount that is keeping with our income is 10% of our income. The word “tithe” means “tenth.” We can certainly give more if we like, that is called an “offering” or a “gift,” but the tithe is 10% of our income and is what God expects. That is what God has claimed as His in return.