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There is simply no way around the fact that it takes a certain amount of money to carry out the work Christ has assigned the local church. Even when we limit the work of the church to that which Christ has authorized and we use our best judgment in being as economical as possible, it still takes some financial resources to implement the Lord's commands. And it is the Lord's people, the Christians who make up a local congregation, who are to furnish the funds that are needed. No one can fulfill this obligation for us. On the Lord's Day, we are to provide for the financial needs of the Lord's work.
Do we give this important matter the priority it deserves? When we're allocating the financial resources available to our families, do we first determine what we're going to give to the Lord's work and then budget the remainder for our own personal needs? Paul spoke of cheerfully "purposing" or "deciding" what we will do to help out with the financial needs of the Lord's work: "The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:6,7).
Financial giving is not the only measure of our devotion to God, of course, but it is certainly one measure. The decision we make in this matter will surely reflect something about where our heart is and the degree to which our approach to life is either self-centered or God-centered. If we've read our Bibles, one thing ought to be clear: sacrificial giving will never impoverish us. In fact, God's promise is that those who loosen their grip on the things of this life and give unselfishly of their means will find themselves being enriched in more important ways. Solomon observed, "One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered" (Prov. 11:24,25). And Jesus said simply, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Mt. 6:33). This week, let's consider what improvements we can make in our giving on the Lord's Day.
Monday: Acts 4:32-5:11
Key Idea: In the New Testament, Christians pooled their resources for the needs of the Lord's work.
Questions for Family Growth: In this passage, what aspect of the Lord's work required financial giving by the members of the Jerusalem church? How generously did they respond to the need? What is the meaning of the expression "at the apostles' feet" (5:2)?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 26:1.
Tuesday: 1 Corinthians 16:1-4
Key Idea: Our financial contribution to the Lord's work is to be made on the first day of the week.
Questions for Family Growth: In v.2, what language is used to indicate the time when the brethren were to make their contribution? Among Christians, what else would be taking place on that day each week? See Ac. 20:7.
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 26:2.
Wednesday: 2 Corinthians 8:1-5
Key Idea: The giving of our means should be an outgrowth of the giving of ourselves to God.
Questions for Family Growth: What things does Paul say about the Macedonian Christians that reflects their attitude toward the Lord's work? Were they rich or poor people? Did they see their giving as an obligation, a privilege, or both?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 26:3-12.
Thursday: 2 Corinthians 8:10-12; 9:1-7
Key Idea: Our giving is to be planned and purposed.
Questions for Family Growth: What exhortation did Paul give the Corinthians in 8:10-12? What does it mean that a Christian should give "as he purposes in his heart" (9:7 NKJV)? How high a priority should our giving be?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 26:13-16.
Friday: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
Key Idea: We should give generously and cheerfully.
Questions for Family Growth: What basic principle is contained in v.6, and how does this relate to our financial giving to the Lord's work? What would be some of the characteristics of a "cheerful giver" (v.7)? How can we learn to be more cheerful in our giving?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 26:17.