Summary: . There is a direct link between our spiritual journey and our practical stewardship. Paul leads us from glory to giving.
THE FAITHFUL STEWARD
INTRODUCTION: “Now concerning the collection.” What about the offering. In chapter 15 Paul has talked about the resurrection, rapture and reality. Chapter 16 is different. It’s as if Paul takes a break and comes back from Heaven to Earth. He goes from the “resurrection” to the “collection”; from the “rapture” to the “revenue”. What’s the “connection”? Your heart may be in Heaven but your feet are on the ground (see I Cor. 1:9 and 16:1). We are to be in “fellowship” with God and “partnership” with one another. There is a direct link between our spiritual journey and our practical stewardship. Paul leads us from glory to giving.
The faithful steward understands:
I. The What (v.1)
“The collection for God’s People.” See v.3. The Jerusalem church was having a difficult time financially. Read Rom. 15:26. Why were the saints poor? Because of a famine, and because of failure to obey God. See Acts 1:8. But they had hugged their privileges and held their position. They lost their spiritual power. God sent persecution and drove them out. Many had lost their jobs. The church strained its resources.
The faithful steward understands he/she has an obligation to help meet the needs of the brothers and sisters in Christ. Look after the family. Many around us have fallen on hard times. When we hold back devotionally and financially we will shrivel up spiritually. Have a hand to get and a heart to give! The mind grows by what it takes in. The heart grows by what it gives out.
Paul told them to do as the Galatians had done and he didn’t apologize for asking. Paul’s aim was to bless the church. Get in on the blessing.
II. The When (v.2)
See Ps. 96:8. When? “First day” = Sunday. Resurrection day! That’s the day for sharing and caring, giving and living (everyday is as well). Giving is a part of worship. You don’t really worship until you practice stewardship.
III. The Who (v.2)
“Each one of you.” Nobody is left out. Look at some N.T. examples of various types of people who gave.
1. Poor widow on a fixed income: Lk 21:4
2. Zacchaeus – man of wealth: Lk. 19:1-10
3. Woman with alabaster box: A single person just getting by (Mk. 14:1-9).
4. Barnabas: Gave with no strings attached (Acts 4:36-37).
5. Macedonian Christians: Felt a financial pinch (2 Cor. 8:1-5).
6. Jesus: Gave His life (2 Cor. 8:9).
IV. The Wherefore
What’s the reason or purpose? Why should God’s people bring a collection on the first day? Note Paul’s words “set it aside” and “save it up”. Why? To take it somewhere. Where? In Acts = to the church. “Save it up” = chest/treasury/collection. “Get the treasury together “to take it to the church.”
How much should I give? “In keeping with your income.” No amount is mentioned here but check out Lev. 27:30-32; Mal. 3:10; Heb. 7:8; Prov. 3.
How do some people give?
1. Calculating way: Like the Pharisees.
2. Comparison way: “I give more than they do.”
3. Convicting way: Spur of the moment.
4. Consecrated way: The best way. Consistent.
Learn to give systematically, sacrificially and spiritually.
CONCLUSION: Look at Paul’s words “No collection will have to be made.” This was no whipping up an offering under pressure at the last moment. This was no giving under compulsion from any human agency, but the result of honest individuals facing their responsibility before God. They were to give out of consistent devotion, not whipped up emotion!
If every Christian was obedient to God’s word His work would prosper both home and abroad! After all the “collection” is not so much a money raising scheme but a character building program.
“Now concerning the collection” – are you a faithful steward?