I Corinthians 16:1-11 NKJV
16 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: 2 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. 3 And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem. 4 But if it is fitting that I go also, they will go with me.
5 Now I will come to you when I pass through Macedonia (for I am passing through Macedonia). 6 And it may be that I will remain, or even spend the winter with you, that you may send me on my journey, wherever I go. 7 For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits.
8 But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. 9 For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
10 And if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do. 11 Therefore let no one despise him. But send him on his journey in peace, that he may come to me; for I am waiting for him with the brethren.
God’s Word never ceases to amaze and surprise. Right after the powerful proclamation of Christ’s resurrection in I Corinthians 15, Paul drops this little gem: “Now concerning the collection for the saints…”, and it seems a jarring change of direction and focus. But on second look, it is quite fitting for Paul to address what to do with one’s income in view of the surpassing greatness and blessings that God bestows upon His people, most particularly the power and certainty of Christ’s resurrection which gives all believer confidence about what will happen when they are called Home to be with Him.
When Paul mentions this collection, he is not referring to what many have said are the actual offerings in modern-day churches from which the bills and the pastor are paid. Rather, he is referring to the gathering of funds for distribution to the poor and needy in the Christian community, particularly in Jerusalem, as he says in v. 3. The New Testament Church was encouraged to thank God for any opportunity she had to help others, thereby serving God by serving the neighbor. God most certainly does not need anything from us – not money, not any material things, not even our help. All those things are to be directed toward our neighbor who does need them.
So, what do you do with your money? Do you hoard it, stow it all away, or like the prodigal son, waste it on riotous living and careless expenditures? If so, repent and change your ways with God’s blessing. Perhaps you may consider helping your neighbor with some of the blessings with which God has tremendously blessed you. Look around and ask God to soften your heart toward your neighbors in need, or even others in your own congregation, for we are to do good, “especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6:10).
Prayerfully consider how you may thank and praise God for paying for all your sins and giving Himself to you in abundance through His Gospel preached and His Sacraments rightly administered.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, thank You for all Your blessings, and show me how I may help my neighbor. Amen.