Money is a fly trap for the heart; giving frees the heart from its grasp.
Jesus speaks about money frequently. He notices the gifts of the rich and of the poor, "And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in her two mites" (Lk. 21:1-2). He engages numerous wealthy people; sadly, some walk away as the fingers of their heart clutch their money, "But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions" (Mt. 19:22). Others, however, open their hearts and their wallets to the Lord Jesus in total abandon, "Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich . . . . Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, 'Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor'" (Lk. 19:2,8). Jesus connects man's heart with man's treasures: "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (12:34).
Intentional and planned giving says, "I choose to be captured by God Himself rather than to be enslaved to the natural world, where physical and bodily appetites rule, where money means independence and power."
Paul urges the Corinthian believers to save up to give, instructing, "On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come" (1 Cor. 16:2). They are to be intentional and generous givers.
Paul will take the monies given by the Corinthians to Jerusalem, where they will be used in a cooperative effort and dispersed by the leaders to fund the missionary activities of field missionaries. That way, their local offerings will have an impact on the entire world. The Corinthian believers, by their monetary gifts, will touch the lostness of the known world; their money will empower those who are called to go where the givers cannot. Giving removes barriers that prevent others' success.
This scene in Corinth reveals a number of truths about giving and the heart:
Stuff is the hook that catches the loop of the heart, like velcro. Giving breaks that bond and detaches the one from the other.
People who don't plan to give, fail to give.
Opportunities to support wonderful ministries often arise quickly enough to prevent those who are unprepared from giving.
God designed ministry to require the support of the body of Christ.
What procedure for giving does Paul establish for the Corinthian church?
What does the ending of Paul's letter to the Corinthians reveal about his relationship with his co-labors?
What conflict arises in Ephesus when people leave idolatry to follow Christ? What was Demetrius" primary motivation for creating a commotion? What does this reveal about those who promote idolatry?
What does the opening paragraph of Paul's letter to the saints in Rome reveal about Paul's view of himself and the basis of his calling?
Creation clearly shows God's eternal power and Godhead; yet it cannot reveal God's righteousness. How, then, does God manifest His righteousness? What attitude in man does the rejection of God as Creator produce?
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