Scripture: 1 Corinthians 16:1-9
Key verse: (2) On the first day of every week, each of you is to put aside and save whatever extra you earn, so that collections need not be taken when I come.
Reflection: I was in a church budget meeting when the treasurer shared that he would send the annual mission gift from the money available at the end of the year. I asked some questions and learned that this congregation always made a commitment to mission giving but then waited until the end of the year to give whatever was left over. The leftovers never matched the hoped-for commitment. I suggested a paradigm shift – what if the treasurer divided the commitment by twelve and then sent a check each month for that amount? Make the commitment and do it first rather than wait until the end to see what’s left. It felt scary but the elders voted to do it. In God’s economy, the paradigm shift led to a transformation of the church’s finances. The church was able to give the full amount to mission and to pay all of the other bills on time.
Now that may sound hokey or unbelievable, but it’s a true story from my experience as pastor of that congregation. I wonder how it might apply to our own lives. Do you make a pledge to give regularly to the church? If not, why not? Do you wait to see what’s “leftover” and then make a donation to get a tax deduction?
Today’s scripture comes from the end of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Paul is asking for financial help for the church in Jerusalem. He plans to pick up the money when he’s in Corinth and then deliver it to Jerusalem. Rather than having a scramble to collect money at the last minute, Paul suggests that the Corinthians should set aside money regularly for the donation. Paul knows that we are called to be faithful, generous managers of our resources and he gives very specific instructions about how to live that out. How can Paul’s instructions help your own faithfulness with what you have?
Prayer: All that I have belongs to you, O God. Teach me to be faithful with my resources. Transform my hopes into reality in the way I use my money. Through Christ I pray. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].