We have all seen or heard illustrations of how saving even a small amount of money on a consistent basis pays off in a huge way over time. Yet so few people do this.
But the same thing is true of giving. It may not seem like much at the same time, but over a longer period it really does add up. And likewise with saving, too few people develop this as a discipline.
In the summers of 1987 and 1988 I took youth music teams to England and Scotland to do a variety of ministries involving singing and children’s VBS work. I met a missionary couple there (one-half of whom is originally from this area) and our family personally began to support them. The amount is not great – only being $25 a month. But now that I look back on it after 29 years of doing this, we have given to the work there close to $9,000.
A second principle about giving that rises from the text in 1 Corinthians 16 is that it be done periodically and persistently. Relative to the issue of giving toward the project of relief for the poor in the church at Jerusalem, Paul directs that this be received in an ongoing, weekly, persistent and disciplined process.
From the text in verses 1 and 2 of chapter 16 … On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.
Obviously this is speaking about the gathering of the church on Sunday, the first day of the week. It was assumed that pretty much everyone was going to be there most every week. Imagine that! I know that looks very odd to many people today. Of course, folks then did not travel like they do today, and I doubt that they had junior gladiator travel team leagues for the kids to be a part of on Sundays.
People probably also received their wages in a more daily fashion; they likely did not have weekly, bi-weekly or monthly pay schedules. Nor were there checks and credit cards and the opportunity such as we have to do online giving or automated payments (which is how Diana and I have done our giving for quite a while, as this really keeps you regular and persistent).
The principle to take from this is to make the issue of giving to be a thoughtful, regular, planned and ongoing process of giving back to God (as his stewards) what is acknowledged to have first come from Him.
The second part of this: Paul did not want to see a situation where they would be scrambling around at the last minute to put together an offering. He knew it would not be the same thing nor nearly as effective.
The discipline of regular giving is a statement of our trust in God’s supply and our gratitude for all he has done for us. It connects us to his ongoing work in a regular fashion of being invested in all that is happening to build the Kingdom.
At one time, I owned stock in a particular company, and I would regularly check in on how that corporation was performing. After a time, I sold that position. And as I think about it now, I’ve never looked back again to see how it has done. I’m no longer invested, neither financially or by interest.
The Scriptures say that where our treasure is, our heart (our interest) will be also. And where our heart is, there too will be the expression of our treasure and investment. Persistent and regular giving keeps our heart and our interests focused upon the things that really matter, the things of eternity.