1 Corinthians 16:1
Now about the collection for the saints, you are to do as I directed the churches of Galatia:
Sermons
The Law of Christian GivingR. Tuck 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2
Charity: its Principles and MethodsF. W. Robertson, M.A.1 Corinthians 16:1-4
Christian GivingJ. T. C. Gullan.1 Corinthians 16:1-4
Christian PhilanthropyD. Thomas, D. D.1 Corinthians 16:1-4
Church GiftsJ.R. Thomson 1 Corinthians 16:1-4
Collection in ChurchU. R. Thomas.1 Corinthians 16:1-4
Collections1 Corinthians 16:1-4
Concerning the CollectionE. Hundall 1 Corinthians 16:1-4
On Living by RuleDean Goulburn.1 Corinthians 16:1-4
The Cooperation of Church and MinisterJ. Lyth, D.D.1 Corinthians 16:1-4
The Gladness of Giving1 Corinthians 16:1-4
The PoorM. Dods, D. D.1 Corinthians 16:1-4
The Theology of MoneyJ.Parker, D.D.1 Corinthians 16:1-4
The Weekly OfferingW. G. Lewis.1 Corinthians 16:1-4
Charity; its Systematic Mode of ExerciseC. Lipscomb 1 Corinthians 16:1-5
If these Corinthians shared the thoughts and emotions of St. Paul on love, on the uses of gifts, and on the resurrection, they were well prepared to have practical duties urged on their immediate attention. At that time "the collection for the saints" was a very important matter. These saints were poor disciples in Jerusalem, who needed foreign help, the Church in that city being unable, because of impoverishment, to render them adequate assistance. Furthermore, it was important as a means of spiritual discipline. Giving to others, and especially to the household of faith, is an acknowledgment of God in Christ, a testimony to brotherhood, and an active cooperation with providence, the last being a duty we are particularly liable to forget. The religion of providence, the sense of Christ in providence, and the sentiments thereby inspired, is a weak influence in many professing Christians, and it is certainly very desirable that we should have the mind of the Spirit on this subject. Apart from these reasons for "the collection for the saints," the evidential value of the act appears in this, that in about a quarter of a century a Christian community had grown up in the Roman empire, had spread over much of its territory, and had the means and the heart to aid poorer brethren. Nor must we fail to notice that Jerusalem was an object of much interest to Galatia and Corinth. The days of adversity were gathering upon her, but she was Jerusalem, and to no one more of a Jerusalem than to St. Paul. His zeal in her behalf won upon the sympathies of the Gentiles, and they were ready to join him in this work of the Lord. Observe, then, that he enters into no argument to prove the obligation of charity. This is presupposed to exist. The sentiment, too, is alive, the impulse is awake and operative. He makes no doubt of their readiness to cooperate with him. What he wishes to do is to organize the sentiment and impulse. Habits are the safeguards of good inclinations, habits are the most conservative of forces, and habits, after having been made by us, get the mastery and make us. Habits are as necessary for Churches as for individuals, and, therefore, he will have these Corinthians to do this work methodically. "As I have given order to the Churches of Galatia, even so do ye." Notice the apostolic method. It required a fixed time - "the first day of the week," the Lord's day. Would not the day cultivate and hallow the feeling? Are the associations of a given time for a given task unworthy of consideration? The heavens and the earth are obedient to periodicity, the human body is an organism of periodicity, the sabbath is an institution of periodicity, and benevolence cannot be a habit in the best import of the term unless it have stated periods of activity. Therefore, "the first day of the week." It was to be done by "every one." It was to be done individually and privately - "lay by him in store." And, again, it was to be performed with reference to accumulation, set apart, added to, kept in store. Finally, there was to be an examination of their daily business; intelligence was to be exercised, prudence and piety were to go hand in hand, and this was to be done in a religious spirit - "as God hath prospered him." Now, this looks as if St. Paul had given much thought to this matter. It was charity, not as mere charity, nor as a spasmodic impulse, nor as a thing of imposing occasions, but charity organized and habitual, regular as the sabbath, incorporated into the sanctity of the day, a product of the week's review, a commemoration of God's goodness in prospering their business; it was this sort of charity he directed them to practice. They practised many virtues in this one virtue. Too much of benevolent giving involves nothing beyond our sympathies and the wants of others. It is an education of the hand, the purse, the soul. But what of the spirit's higher culture? What of the calling into play the spiritual nature that was going forward to robe itself in a spiritual habiliment at the resurrection? The essence of this lay in the thought of God as prospering the man for the sake of others as well as for his own sake. Business, then, was not simply personal, it was relative also, and charity, no less than utility, entered into it as a component. What, now, is St. Paul's idea of making money? It is acquiring the means of your own support and of contributing to the relief of those in want. It is making wisdom and openness of heart and fraternity of sentiment, while making money. It is making the religion of brotherhood while making money. If the Corinthians would adhere to this plan, there would be no need of collections when he came, as the work would have been done already. Was not this one way of being steady, unmoved, "always abounding in the work of the Lord," and would it not prove by its self action that it was not "in vain in the Lord?" And was it not one way, and a great way, of demonstrating that there was a business in religion as well as a religion in business? Throughout his statement of the matter, you see the apostle's large mindedness. The cheerful giver is portrayed, the man who naturalizes and domesticates charity; nothing is said of tithes and tithing; it is Christianity and Gentile Christianity alone that is in view, and, instead of Jerusalem being a centre of power or metropolitan sovereignty, Corinth and Galatia are sources or bead-springs of blessing to her. What a stride forward this, in the evangelization of the world! We may know that the end draweth nigh, when the money of the world - the stronghold of sin and Satan - is recovered for Christ. St. Paul bad faith in the sentiment of these Corinthians. Disorderly as were some of their practices, shameful indeed, loose as was their Church discipline, erroneous certain of their tenets, yet, despite of all, they had the root of the matter in the willing mind of love, so that when be visited them, he would have nothing more to do than to accredit their messengers and commend them to the Church in Jerusalem. Come to them he would; and, if the collection were liberal, he might deem it advisable to accompany their messengers to Jerusalem. And what a spectacle it suggests at this distance to us, who can recall the old-time enmity between Jew and Gentile, and have the offset in a scene as beautiful as that presented by a delegation from Corinth, bearing its gifts to a suffering and down-trodden people! - L.







Now concerning the collection.
This is in close connection with the sublime argument about the resurrection. There is no gulf between doctrine and duty; rather, most intimate union between the hope of heaven and details of common life on earth. Duty is the fruit of rightly believed doctrine; character is the index and result of creed.

I. THE GIFT OF PROPERTY IS GOD'S SPECIAL SERVICE, AND THE IMPULSE OF ALL GODLY MEN. It may be in His service in commerce and art, but in religion and philanthropy it is specially devoted to Him. Love must give. Lovers of God give to Him. Jacob at Bethel; David asking, "What shall I render?" etc.; Mary bringing the alabaster box.

II. THE GIFT OF PROPERTY TO GOD IS ENJOINED AS AN OBLIGATION IN SCRIPTURE. There are —

1. Literal commands.

(1)To the Hebrews, tithes, etc.

(2)To the Christians, as in this chapter.

2. Promises of consequent blessings. "Prove Me now herewith," etc.; "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

III. THE GIFT OF PROPERTY TO GOD SHOULD BE SYSTEMATIC.

1. Universal. "Every one of you."

2. Thoughtful. It is to be by a laying by, which means frequent thought, and on the first day of the week, when associations may well make the thought sacred.

3. Proportionate. "As God hath prospered."

4. Thoroughly unselfish. Here was a Gentile subscription for the needs of Jews — Corinth caring for Jerusalem.

(U. R. Thomas.)

Deacon Ranson Parker, of New York, says: "It is all very well to talk about the cattle of a thousand hills being the Lord's, but the fact is, some one must collect them together and drive them to market before they can be of much service to the Lord's cause." This is a most sensible remark. In our churches there might be abundant funds for the work of the Lord if a more businesslike method was taken to collect the money. The poor pastor pines in poverty, and many loving hearts are ignorant of his need, or, being unsolicited, do not dare to offer a supply. The silver and the gold are the Lord's, but a kindly, genial person to collect the, precious metals is often needed. We know a Church which contributes more than £300 to missions, but this was not the case till an enthusiastic deacon took up the laborious task of going round to the friends. Are there not gifts of collection as well as gifts of preaching? If some deacons were really to care about their minister, might they not save him from downright want by personally looking up the seat subscriptions? It is wisdom to go round the thousand hills, if there be so many within reach, and fetch home some of the cattle, large and small, that there may be meat in the Lord's House.

Christian giving, this passage teaches us, is —

I.POSITIVE. "As I have given orders."

II.PERSONAL. "Let every one of you."

III.PRIVATE. "Lay by him."

IV.PERIODICAL. "Upon the first day of the week," weekly.

V.Pious. "Upon the first day of the week."

VI.PROSPECTIVE. "That there be no gatherings when I come."

VII.PROPORTIONAL. "As God has prospered him."

(J. T. C. Gullan.)

We have here an illustration of one peculiar use of Scripture. This distress was long since relieved. The apostle wrote for his own time, yet the whole account is as fresh and instructive to us as it was to the Corinthians. Note —

I. THE CALL FOR CHARITY. We learn from Romans 15:26 that the Jewish converts were in great distress, and that St. Paul summoned the Gentile converts in Achaia, Galatia, and Rome to relieve them. Observe —

1. How all distinctions of race melt away before Christianity. Collections had often been sent by foreign Jews, but here was a Jewish object supported by Gentiles — a new thing in the world. Christ was the Man, the Saviour, not of one people, but of the world, and in Him all were one. Henceforth there was neither Jew nor Greek, etc.

2. Jerusalem, Corinth, and Galatia were linked by a common object. You have seen a magnet applied to a mass of iron filings, and watched the multitude of delicate points all adhering to each other, through the invisible influence which, sent throughout them all, makes each in its turn a magnet. To scattered races, separate castes and ancient enmities, Christ was the Magnet which united all.

3. This had been done before by war and trade. In earlier times the different and even opposing tribes of the Roman republic were united on the field of battle; they felt they were warring for the same cause. Later we find that trade united men by mutual interest. "We will not injure others, because, by so doing, we shall injure ourselves." Christianity unites, not through a common hatred or interest, but through a common love.

4. Remark how in God's counsels sorrow draws out good. Pain and sorrow are mysteries. The sufferers at Jerusalem could not see the meaning of their sorrow; nor did they know how many a Greek and Roman was weekly laying up his store for them; nor how, through their pain, Galatia and Corinth and Rome were drawn by cords of love together. So we often suffer, and see no good result from it. But assuredly, we are not suffering in vain. Suffering works out for us a weight of glory, which tells how our characters are perfected through suffering; but there is a higher Christian light to see our pain in: it blesses others. This is the blessedness of the suffering of Christ; it is the law of the Cross. To be willing to bear in order to teach others! — to lose, in order that others may "through us noblier live" — that is to know something of the blessedness He knew.

II. THE PRINCIPLE OF ITS EXERCISE.

1. Systematic in manner (ver. 2). That is, instead of waiting for one stirring apostolic appeal, they were to make charity the business of their lives. This contribution was to be a matter of principle, and not of impulse. One burning speech of St. Paul's might have elicited a larger sum. But he preferred the effects of steady perseverance to those of vehement emotion. For impulse is often mere luxury. To give largely, to strip off a coat to give to a shivering man, may after all be nothing more than a relief from importunity, or a compact with conscience, or a compromise with laziness. On the contrary, this systematic plan of St. Paul's —(1) Costs something, and(2) teaches —(a) the habit of a thoughtful life; it reminds us continually that there is something which is owed to God, and therefore is not our own; and it is well that, by an outward system, we should train our inward spirit to the unforgetful thought of our debt to Him.(b) Self-denial. It gradually lays the foundation of a life of Christian economy; not that which sacrifices one pleasure for another: for this is but mere prudence; but that which abridges pleasure, in order that we may be able to give to God.

2. The measure of liberality was "as God hath prospered him."(1) St. Paul establishes a principle here. He lays down no rabbinical maxim of one-tenth or one-fourth. He leaves the measure to our own conscience. "Ask thyself," he says to each, "how much owest thou unto thy Lord?"(2) Besides a wide margin is here left necessarily for variety of circumstances. God prospers one man in fortune; another, in time; another, in talent; and time, talents, sympathy, are often better gifts than money. "Silver and gold have I none," said St. Peter, "but that which I have I give unto thee," and the man was healed. So now, often the greatest exercise of charity is where there is nothing given, but where the deserving are assisted to support themselves. Often the highest charity is simply to pay liberally for all things had or done for you; because to underpay workmen, and then be bountiful, is not charity. On the other hand, to give, when by so doing you support idleness, is most pernicious.

3. Now, the first principle will explain why the second is not realised. Men do not give as God hath prospered them, because they do not give systematically. They who have most are not they who give most, but the reverse, as is proved by the annals of all societies. Many are the touching cases where the givings of a servant, a governess, a workman, have more than equalled the munificence of the rich. So also was St. Paul's experience (2 Corinthians 8:1-4). The reason of this strange difference is, that system is easier with little than with much. The man of thousands squanders: every impulse is satisfied immediately; he denies himself nothing; he gives as freely when he is touched by a tale of woe, as he indulges when he wants indulgence. But his luxuries grow into necessities, and he then complains of his larger liabilities and establishment. Now let me appeal to those who really wish to do right in this thing. St. Paul's principle is the only safe or true one. Systematise your charity. Save, by surrendering superfluities first. Feel that there is a sacred fund, which will be made less by every unnecessary expense.

(F. W. Robertson, M.A.)

I. ITS CLAIMS ZEALOUSLY ADVOCATED. In this matter Paul proposes the Galatians as an example to the Corinthians, the Corinthians an example to the Macedonians, and both as an example to the Romans (2 Corinthians 9:2; Romans 15:26). Were it not for the earnest advocacy of Christly men, practical social sympathy would become extinct. It is the living ministry of the gospel that keeps it alive, and in this it fulfils the grandest of all missions.

II. ITS OPERATIONS WISELY DIRECTED. Paul directed that the contributions should be —

1. Personal. "Every one of you." No one was exempted, however poor; the widow's mite was acceptable. If no coin, then give service.

2. Systematic. Begin the week with deeds of practical benevolence.

3. Religious. "As God hath prospered him." Were this principle acted upon, some of the men who subscribe their thousands would be found to be churls, and those who subscribed their few shillings would appear as princes in the domain of practical charity. But, alas! how men reverse this principle! The more they have the less they give.

III. ITS CONTRIBUTIONS HONESTLY DISTRIBUTED. How sadly is this duty frequently neglected, how much money given for charitable purposes is dishonestly used, and misappropriated every year!

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

A Methodist minister says that in one of his charges a good man regularly gave every Sabbath £1 for the support of the Church. A poor widow was also a member of the same Church, who supported herself and six children by washing. She was as regular as the rich man in making her offering of twopence per week, which was all the could spare from her scant earnings. One day the rich man came to the minister and said that the poor woman ought not to give anything, and that he would pay the twopence for her every week. The pastor called to tell her of the offer, which he did in a considerate manner. Tears came to the woman's eyes as she replied: "Do they want to take from me the comfort I experience in giving to the Lord? Think how much I owe to Him. My health is good, my children keep well, and I receive so many blessings that I feel I could not live if I did not make my little offering to Jesus each week." How many there are who know nothing of the privilege of regularly giving something to the Lord's work!

Several causes had contributed to this poverty; and, among others, perhaps the persecution promoted by Paul. Many Christians were driven from their homes, and many more must have lost their means of earning a livelihood. But it is likely that Paul was anxious to relieve this poverty, mostly because he saw in it an opportunity for bringing more closely together the two great parties in the Church (Galatians 2:9, 10). He saw that no doctrinal explanations were likely to be so fruitful in kindly feeling and true unity as this simple expression of brotherly kindness.

I. IN OUR OWN DAY POVERTY HAS ASSUMED A MUCH MORE SERIOUS ASPECT. The poverty which results from accident, or even from wrong-doing or indolence, could easily be met by individual charity or national institutions. But the poverty we are now confronted with is that which results from competition. So overstocked is the labour-market that the employer can name his own terms. Where he wants one man, a hundred offer their services, so that necessarily wages are pressed down by competition to the very lowest figure. In all our large cities there are thousands who by working sixteen hours a day earn only what suffices to maintain the most wretched existence.

1. The most painful and alarming feature of this condition of things is, that every new method of facilitating business, every improvement in machinery, makes life more difficult to the mass of men. Individual charity is here a mere mop in the face of the tide. What is wanted is not larger workhouses where the aged poor may be sheltered, but such a system as will enable the working man to provide for himself against old age. What is wanted is not that the charitable should eke out the earnings of the labouring classes, but that these earnings should be such as to amply cover all ordinary human wants. What the working classes at present demand is, not charity, but justice.

II. IS THERE ANY SYSTEM WHICH COULD CHECK THE EVILS RESULTING FROM COMPETITION?

1. The essence of the demand of socialism is that "whereas industry is at present carried on, by private capitalists served by wage-labour, it must in the future be conducted by associated or co-operating workmen jointly owning the means of production." The difficulty in pronouncing judgment on such a demand arises from the fact that very few have sufficient imagination and sufficient knowledge of our complicated social system to be able to forecast the results of so great a change. In the present stage of human progress personal interest is undoubtedly one of the strongest incentives to industry, and to this motive the present system of competition appeals. The organisation of all industries and the management and remuneration of all labour demand a machinery so colossal that it is feared it would fall to pieces by its own weight.

2. Some of those who have given greatest attention to social subjects, and have made the greatest personal sacrifices in behalf of the poor, believe that deliverance is only to be found in the application of Christian principles to the working of the present competitive system. True progress here, as elsewhere, begins in character.

3. Appeal is confidently made to Christ by both parties. By the one it is affirmed that were He now on earth He would be a communist. Communism has been tried to some extent in the Church. In monastic societies private property is surrendered for the good of the community, and this practice professes to find its sanction in the communism of the primitive Church. But the account we have of that communism shows that it was neither compulsory nor permanent.

4. It is perhaps of more importance to observe that our Lord took no part in any political movement. He was no agitator, although He lived in an age abounding in abuses. And this limitation of His work was due to no mere shrinking from the rougher work of life, but to His perception that His own task was to touch what was deepest in man, and to lodge in human nature forces which ultimately would achieve all that was desirable. It was by the regeneration of individuals society was to be regenerated. The leaven which contact with Him imparted to the individual would touch and purify the whole social fabric.

III. IN ANY CASE THE DUTY OF INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIANS IS PLAIN.

1. To seclude ourselves in our own comfortable homes and shut out all sounds and signs of misery is simply to furnish proof that we know nothing of the spirit of Christ. We may find ourselves quite unable to rectify abuses on a larger scale, but we can do something to brighten some lives; we can ask ourselves whether we are quite free from blood-guiltiness in using articles which are cheap to us because wrung out of underpaid and starving hands.

2. The method of collecting which Paul recommends was in all probability that which he himself practised (ver. 2). But what is chiefly to be noticed is that Paul, who ordinarily is so free from preciseness and form, here enjoins the precise method in which the collection might best be made. He believed in methodical giving. He laid it on each man's conscience deliberately to say how much he would give. He wished no one to give in the dark. He knew how men seem to themselves to be giving much more than they are if they do not keep an exact account of what they give, how some men shrink from knowing definitely the proportion they give away. And therefore he presents it as a duty to determine what proportion we can give away, and if God prospers us and increases our incomes, to what extent we should increase our personal expenditure and to what extent use for charitable objects the additional gain.

(M. Dods, D. D.)

Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him
Let us —

I. CONSIDER SOME GENERAL PRINCIPLES IN RELATION TO CHRISTIAN GIFTS,

1. Real religion demands the consecration of some part of our worldly substance to God. Gratitude to God constrains us to inquire, "What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits?" And God is pleased to encourage in us free-will offerings, and He has in all ages regarded them as a portion of His worship. Before the flood men took the firstlings of their flock and gave them to God. When Noah came out of the ark he took of every clean beast, etc., and gave them to God. Abraham tithed the spoil of battle for the service of God; and Jacob, on the plains of Bethel, vowed a tenth to God. In all the solemnities of Jewish worship the command went forth, "None shall appear before the Lord empty," and there were seasons when the spontaneous liberality of the people overflowed all the bounds of calculation. Further on the prophets dwelt upon the time when the Church of Christ should emulate and even surpass the enthusiasm of her elder sister. "The abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee." "For brass I will bring gold," etc. The Magi brought their costly tribute to the infant Saviour, typifying the great consecration that shall one day ensue of the world's wealth to Him. Mark Christ's approval of the widow's mites, and His rebuke of Judas. In apostolic times Barnabas sells his estates and gives the proceeds for the furtherance of the gospel. Name after name is recorded of both sexes as distinguished for high-minded self-denial in the same good cause. Each Epistle contains some reference to the universal duty.

2. The genius of Christianity loudly calls for enlarged benevolence.(1) The system of redemption is, from first to last, one prodigious process of gift. God loved the world and gave His only begotten Son. The Son loved us, and gave Himself to death for us all. The self-sacrifice of Christ has taught us more pathetically than words could say, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." The patriarch might bring his first-fruits and his flocks with thankfulness as a recognition of the great Landlord of the world. The Jew in his tithes and offerings professed his attachment to the theocracy. But we have holier motives. The blessings obtained by sharing in salvation are so vast that they constitute the substance of which all antecedent privileges were but the shadow. Shall we then feel less of love, and practise less of self-denial?(2) Moreover, we have in the teachings and example of Jesus infallible lessons in the art of self-surrender. Wherein is our discipleship manifest if it be not by a preference of the glory of God to all inferior motives of time and sense?(3) The coming of Christ and the completion of His great work of atonement have greatly extended the responsibilities of His Church, for in Him there is neither Greek nor Jew, etc. With His Church the Saviour has left injunctions to subdue the whole world.

3. God has in all ages greatly honoured the consecration of wealth to His service. "Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first-fruits of all thine increase. So shall thy barns be filled," etc. Many Christians will testify that their success in life is due to their dedication of their gains to God. We have yet to meet the man who has been impoverished by charity. But there are rewards of a holier kind. The illiberal man robs himself of the joy of being like God: he narrows the circle of his gratifications and limits their sources.

II. EXAMINE THE APOSTOLIC INSTRUCTIONS CONTAINED IN THE TEXT. What force has this precept now? The reply is not difficult. An inspired apostle is the highest human authority in all that relates to Christian duty. Should any upon the basis of this Scripture adopt the custom of weekly offerings, they cannot be acting wrong. Nay, the strong presumption is that they are adopting the only course that is right. The objection that this is the only precept of the kind is not valid, for upon one passage in this same Epistle we establish our mode of commemorating the Saviour's love to us, may we not also upon another passage, that now before us, rest our mode of exhibiting our love to Him? In our text we find —

1. The time appointed for religious gifts. The advantages that attach to this apostolic rule are numerous and important. Here is an appointed time of frequent occurrence, and thereby the duty is kept constantly before our attention. The Lord's day presents the leisure required for deliberate thought and finds us in the happiest state of mind for the performance of the obligation. The cultivation of a spirit of liberality becomes a part of the great work of Christian edification which belongs pre-eminently to the first day in the week. The present desultory mode is inconvenient in the extreme; it jumbles together the perplexities of business and the service of love; it has produced not a little ill-temper, and therefore we commend to you this financial system of the New Testament. Put by each Sabbath what you ought to give. Have somewhere a store which is not your own, but God's; and when applicants come meet them as a steward, who is dispensing what is his master's, not his own. This system is one that commends itself for its great facility. The working man could easily put by his one, two, or three-pence a week, whereas five, ten, or fifteen shillings would be an impossibility to him at the year's end. The tradesman who would not miss his ten shillings or sovereign each Sabbath would be troubled to surrrender at one effort the twenty or fifty pounds which he ought to give annually to the treasury of God.

2. The persons addressed — "Every one of you." All who have received the gospel are bound to do what they can for its diffusion. Smallness of means does not procure exemption. As under the law the poor man's pigeon was equally acceptable to God with the bullocks of his wealthier brother, so also were they equally required. The small contributions of the great number are even more desirable than the magnificent offerings of the wealthy few.

3. The rule and measure of contribution — "As God hath prospered him."(1) It is true that the New Testament does not assign the specific arithmetical amount which we shall dedicate to God. Amongst the Jews each head of a family was bound to give one-tenth to the support of the tribe of Levi, a second tenth for the great festivals of his nation, a third tenth for the poor. Beside these, there were free-will offerings, trespass offerings, and costly journeys to the temple. The aggregate of religious gifts among the Jews could not have been less than one-fifth of each man's income, and more probably involved one-third of it.(2) Now, while the spirit of the gospel is love, still it does give directions to regulate our conduct in relation to contributions. If love does not stoop to arithmetical calculation, it is only because this grace is profuse beyond all calculation.(3) The rule of the text requires that there should be a continual relation between our temporal circumstances and our religious benefactions. A Christian's wealth is not to increase and his subscriptions remain stationary. The more the Almighty prospers a man, the more He expects him to bestow (Deuteronomy 16:17).

(W. G. Lewis.)

1. St. Paul, the most disenthralled of all the apostles from the bondage of Judaism, here gives a rule on the subject of almsgiving. The wisdom of such a rule is obvious. A considerable sum would thus be gradually accumulated, which a man might hesitate to give in one lump. And then, again, such a rule ensured a gradual discipline in Christian benevolence which would be far more beneficial and a far greater test of character than one great effort. A great effort may be made in a moment of excitement; but continual little efforts can only be made on principle. Lastly, the collection would be over before the apostle's visit, and their minds would be ready to receive the spiritual benefits of his ministry.

2. Still, a rule it is. It defines the exact method and period. And it has all the narrowness inherent in the nature of rules, it is not adapted to the circumstances of all men. In the case of incomes not accruing weekly, the rule would require to be recast. And there is probably no modern Christian who thinks himself bound to its literal observance however much we may be bound to the spirit of it.

3. It is surprising, until we come to consider it, what a dearth of rules there is in the New Testament. The field of nature presents in this respect a remarkable resemblance to the field of Scripture; she furnishes materials for all the arts of life even as Scripture furnishes principles for holy living. There is stone in her quarries, clay in her soils, timber in her forests, coal in her mines, etc. The various arts of life develop these resources for the well-being of man. Without architecture we must sleep under the canopy of the sky, without the weaver's art we should be none the better for the sheep's fleece, and without the industry and ingenuity of man corn could not be converted into bread. Now just as nature furnishes all the materials of life, which art develops and makes up for use, so Holy Scripture furnishes the materials for all rules of holy living, which rules the spiritual instinct and experience of the children of God extracts and draws up in form.

4. From this very simple analogy, then, we learn the great importance as well as the subordinate position of rules. It was not the scope of the Scriptures to do anything beyond furnishing the principles of duty, just as it was not the scope of the Creator in nature to do anything beyond furnishing materials for the supply of man's various wants. Yet we cannot gather from hence that rules are not absolutely necessary for a holy life.

5. But be it observed that the adoption of rules is recommended not as a bondage but as a help to the will and as a discipline for bracing and hardening it. What Christian man can say with truth that he has risen above the necessity of all such rules? What Christian man could safely afford to dispense, e.g., with the obligation of private prayer morning and evening, and of stated public worship, although these obligations are bound upon him, not by the explicit letter of Holy Scripture, but by the godly customs and traditional usages of the Christian Church? As to almsgiving, some rule surely must be felt by all of us to be urgently needed, and here especially the form and shape which the duty will take will be almost infinitely various. Let each man only make sure of securing by his practice the principle, which is that God has a claim upon a certain fair proportion of our annual income, and that to withhold from Him such a proportion independently of the dishonour done to Him thereby, is as likely to be prejudicial to our spiritual interests as the withholding from Him a portion of our time for the exercises of devotion. Let this principle be deeply settled in the mind and then the details adjusted honestly in accordance with it.

6. In any case let our rules be such as may be easily and cheerfully observed, remembering that we are to serve God in the newness of the spirit, not in the oldness of the letter. Let the object be to make them a help, not to convert them into a penance.

(Dean Goulburn.)

(Deuteronomy 8:18 and text): —

I. GOD GIVES THE POWER TO GET WEALTH.

1. Remember that and industry is turned into a sacrament, and you will feel yourself working side by side with God in the field, warehouse, pulpit etc.

2. This text strikes a blow at that most popular and mischievous fallacy that man is the maker of his own money. Men who can see God moulding worlds, cannot see Him suggesting our idea in business, or smiling on the plough. We have dethroned Him in the realm of commerce, and have put foul little gods called Trick and Cunning into the holy place. We have locked God up in the church.

3. There is always a danger of becoming entangled in the intricacies of second causes. If money fell like rain we should more readily concede that it came from God; but because it comes through circuitous channels we see on it no nobler image than Caesar's. But He who pours down the sunlight pours out the oil. He who arrays Lebanon in all the pomp of summer foliage gives wool and flax to cover the nakedness of man.

4. God wishes the fact to be treasured in the memory of His saints. Mark the consequences of this grateful recollection.(1) God and wealth will be ever associated. "The silver and the gold are Mine."(2) It will promote humility. "What hast thou that thou hast not received?"(3) It will restore every act of life to its direct and vital relation to the centre of the universe. The man who can be atheistic in business could be atheistic in heaven itself. The man who never turns his warehouse into a church will turn the church into a warehouse.(4) It will put a check on all wastefulness. A man who outruns his resources is dishonest; his life is a perpetual felony.(5) It will beget a becoming gratitude and turn our heart and eye heavenward.

II. THE PRACTICAL RECOGNITION THIS REQUIRES. Paul turns the principle to practical account. A time is named — God's elect day. The Sabbath is emphatically a day of remembrance. The measure is fixed: God's gift of power, "As God hath prospered." There is not a word about tenth, or fifth, or twentieth. The whole New Testament arithmetic is moral. The student is at liberty, indeed, to go back into the oldest Biblical records, and to discover what grateful men did in dividing and dedicating property, but the service here demanded is a service of love, gratitude, memorial; the heart will soon arrange the best methods of marshalling details. Note the results which would mark the adoption of this apostolic plan.

1. The fickleness and fitfulness of benevolence would be terminated. Benevolence is now very largely a question of impulse.

2. The benevolent operations of the Church would be immensely facilitated. When help is required there is no difficulty with men who systematically store a portion for God.

3. The gratitude of the individual Christian would be kept in lively exercise. On every Lord's day he would not only pray for the kingdom, but show the reality of his word by the practical reality of his deed.Conclusion:

1. You may suggest that it is troublesome to be dividing every week: is it troublesome to be receiving every week?

2. If you remember the Lord your God He will remember you. "Honour the Lord with thy substance," etc. "He which soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly," etc.

(J.Parker, D.D.)

And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve
Observe generally —

1. That in matters of public interest the Church and the minister should co-operate.

2. That the Church approves and the minister commissions.

3. That the minister, where any solid advantage is to be gained, should be ready for any service imposed upon him (ver. 4).

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

Links
1 Corinthians 16:1 NIV
1 Corinthians 16:1 NLT
1 Corinthians 16:1 ESV
1 Corinthians 16:1 NASB
1 Corinthians 16:1 KJV

1 Corinthians 16:1 Bible Apps
1 Corinthians 16:1 Parallel
1 Corinthians 16:1 Biblia Paralela
1 Corinthians 16:1 Chinese Bible
1 Corinthians 16:1 French Bible
1 Corinthians 16:1 German Bible

1 Corinthians 16:1 Commentaries

Bible Hub
1 Corinthians 15:58
Top of Page
Top of Page