Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem; 1 Corinthians 16:1-3
Because we're so hide-bound we have ASSUMED from this:
1) that the first day was their normal meeting day.
2) that Paul had established an ongoing practice of passing the plate every Sunday.
3) that there was even a public collection taking place on the first day of every week.
Now, don't go jumping to conclusions about what you think I'm suggesting, instead simply read the verses again and consider: What was to be done on the first day of every week and why? You see, this collection would end once it was taken to Jerusalem, and there was nothing said about continuing it (though, of course, they were free to do so). Paul's whole point in directing them to do this on a regular basis was so that no collections would be made when he came. Why? Because Paul's authority (the genuineness of his ministry) was at the center of their contentions.
But what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded JUST AS WE ARE in the matter about which they are boasting. 2 Corinthians 11:12
Keeping in mind that these Corinthians had fallen into comparing and competing and making a show of everything doesn't it make sense that Paul wasn't about to establish yet ANOTHER opportunity for them to do so every time they met together? In reference to their gatherings he wrote: "when you come together", "when you meet together" and "as often as ..." (1 Corinthians 11:17,18,20,26,27,33,34). But Paul did not reference their meetings, but instead he chose the first day of the week. Isn't it merely assumption on our part to demand that they had allocated one particular day in which to meet just because the habit has been ingrained within our perceptions? I think Paul may have chosen a specific day of the week FOR THEM in order to make sure the collection would not necessarily overlap, and therefore, would NOT be attached to their gatherings. If he were to do something similar in our highly scheduled society I seriously doubt he would choose Sunday.
Did you notice that his direction to them regarding the first day of the week was "each one of you is to put aside and save". It is OUR culture that assumes the meaning: bring your offerings to church. The more I consider this I get the picture that Paul wanted each person to privately put aside their gift so that it would not be influenced by any kind of outward pressure, and then a group chosen by the Corinthians would gather the money ALREADY set aside to take it to Jerusalem.
Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:1-4
Our religious minds have made the false assumption that Jesus came to bring us a life based on alternative principles, but nothing could be farther from the truth, for it was principles that Jesus spoke AGAINST. The alternative Jesus spoke of was something outside the framework of principles for it reflected a LIFE that didn't need man's approval. When we make Jesus' and Paul's words regarding GIVING into principles we don't really fool anyone by the pretense of having kept these Christian principles, we merely create an illusion of giving in secret. I recently watched a movie where one of the major donors kept letting it slip about his anonymous gift. The flesh always finds a way.
The reality of the life of Christ within each of them was the ONLY thing Paul was concerned about. It is this same reality that was to come through His Spirit that Jesus alluded to as He continually shattered the pretenses of the religious mind, ESPECIALLY those said to be built upon the written word.
Is your giving motivated upon a have-to or based upon a requirement? Are you wearied by the religious show performed under the pretense of obedience? Have you been abused and taken advantage of by the intimidation of others? On the other hand, has such resentment caused you to quench the generosity of the new heart within you? Has your concept of giving been downgraded by a symbol ($)?. My friends, the real life we have in Christ is so far superior to anything produced by Christian principles!