1 Corinthians 16:1-4
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do you.…
There are few interests in human life which can be separated from the consideration of money. Money is the first necessity of governments, and it is the sinews of war. In business, in professional life, in industrial pursuits, pecuniary considerations are prominent, perhaps paramount. It is no otherwise in religion; and, however some superfine Christians may object to associating anything so base as money with what is the loftiest of human interests, no way has been found of excluding money matters from the Church of Christ. Indeed, as Christianity claims to affect and to control all that is human, there seems no possibility of excluding anything so important as money from its range.
I. THE PURPOSES TO WHICH CHURCH GIFTS SHOULD BE DEVOTED. The contributions gathered in Achaia, Macedonia, and other places, at the instance of the apostle, were for the poor Christians of Jewish race at Jerusalem. There is no reason to suppose that all the methods and practices of the primitive Churches were unexceptionable. We have to deal with aims, with impulses and principles, not with details of method and administration. And we cannot question that the relief of the poor, and especially of the Christian poor, is a lawful and becoming means of displaying practical brotherly love. Wisdom, discrimination, ought indeed to be exercised, but for the direction and not for the extinction of liberality.
II. THE METHOD IN WHICH CHURCH CONTRIBUTIONS SHOULD BE MADE. From this passage, containing principles of apostolic authority, we learn that such setting apart of our substance to benevolent and ecclesiastical purposes should be:
1. Periodical. Some have, indeed, held that the words of the apostle especially sanction the devotion of money as an observance peculiarly appropriate to the Lord's day. In any case, regularity is enjoined.
2. In proportion to means. There is both common sense and Christian feeling in the apostle's direction as to the measure of liberality. The poor man gives of his poverty, and the rich man of his wealth; whatever is consecrated being regarded as an acknowledgment that all is from God.
3. In preparation and accumulation. To avoid a sudden levy or collection upon the apostle's arrival, he recommends that each shall lay by him in store, so that the product may be ready to hand when the day comes that it is wanted.
III. THE WAY IN WHICH CHURCH GIFTS SHOULD BE APPROPRIATED AND ADMINISTERED. Paul showed his wonted wisdom in the arrangements he suggested.
1. Personal ministration should be employed. Everything, especially everything connected with money, should be open and above board. The givers choose the bearers of the gift.
2. The manner of apportionment should be altogether above any possibility of suspicion. Of such precautions Paul has set us an admirable and excellent example. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.