1 Jul 2001

The Collection

Submitted by theshovel
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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!

Comments

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These comments were all transferred over from the original website


Posted: July 2, 2001 by Richard

Hi Jim,
There's more that I want to say regarding this shoveletter, but suffice it to say as I quickly read this it felt as if some deeply entrenched religious garbage/debris was dislodged from my thinking.
As our elder brother (Christ) said, "You are clean through the word I have spoken to you"!!
It never ceases to amaze me how the simplicity of the life of Christ can untangle us from the erroneous teachings of so called 'wise guys'!
If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed!!

Love, Richard


« There's more that I want to say regarding this shoveletter »

I would love to hear more from you on this!! :)

« If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed!! Love, Richard »

And what a freedom it is, my brother!! :)

Love,
Jim


Posted: July 2, 2001 by Geir

Hey, another great message on giving! Thanx.
Me and my wife made a descision year or two ago, to make the shift from following traditions to give from a loving heart. It was hard to do it, since it actually felt like we betrayed God or something. You know we have been taught that we are thieves if we dont give tithes, stealing from God. So we felt like thieves. (I'v been a faithful tither all my chirstian life, and always had financially problems despite of the promises from the preachers that God will open up heaven only if you give 10% gross and offerings). Now for the first time we always have more money than we need, and we give more than we could before (go figure how it happens), and giving it to stuff we have compassion for like friends in need and like that. And we just spend more money than ever on just having fun (trips to USA,England,Spain, Germany, Checkia, Greece and others just this last year, and it has been a great blessed time) and we both only just work 50%! Something is wrong with the teaching on money nowadays and something is right with the bible!

Your brother, Geir


Geir, my dear friend!!

It is always good to hear from you. :) I love the freedom you have
described in giving from a loving heart. This is the TRUE assumption found
in the reality that you have been made alive in Christ, for if there is to
be a loving heart within us it MUST be of the new creation!!


« Now for the first time we always have more money than we need, and we give more than we could before (go figure how it happens), and giving it to stuff we have compassion for like friends in need and like that. »

Wow, that's a switch!! I've heard quite a few "testimonies" claiming that faithfulness in tithing brought a huge return on investment. It's pretty cool to hear something to the contrary. Of course, I have also heard a few testimonials describing the ruin brought about by tithing. I guess there is just no formula! Aren't we fortunate?? :)

Love,
Jim


Posted: July 2, 2001 by Natalie

Words of life as usual my brother! Thanks. I miss your posts. love,


Posted: July 2, 2001 by Becki

Wow. good stuff, Jim. I love where you've been going with this series.


Posted: July 2, 2001 by Sherri

{"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 ($)?"}

Very good and thought provoking questions! : )

{"... the real life we have in Christ is so far superior to anything produced by 'Christian principles'!"}

The above is a VERY quotable quote! PLEASE add this to your Shovelcards Selection! : )

And oweee I can feel the singeing heat of anger from today Pharisees and 'word merchants' over that quote, too!

Good thing the good news of Jesus Christ is NOT about impressing the masses and winning friends and influencing people! : ) NOT the way we have often been led to perceive ... by either ourselves or someone else.

{"He continually shattered the pretenses of the religious mind, ESPECIALLY those said to be built upon the written word."}

Another very quotable quote! : ) Add this one, too!

I love how you call attention to and challenge our 'assumptions'! Very good, very healthy! : )

I always love the attention given to the reality that we have been miraculously made NEW! GOD Living HIS Life in, with, and through man! This is the miracle work of GOD in us! HE is and wil always be True to HIMself in us! This is trustworthy, and the New Creation that we are does know and trust HIM! : )

The gospel of Christ speaks to the New that we are, not the old that we were. : )

How much more secure Christians would realize they are if they were aware more often of this reality about themselves and Christ Who is their Life!

In GOD we are both secure and free! Security and freedom in the Love of GOD doth a perfect couple make. : )

BRAVO there Shoveldude!

May your shovel forever be full. Now, that could be bad, or that could be good. What do you think?

: )


Posted: July 2, 2001 by Richard

The "more" I wanted to share with you re: the current shoveletter was pretty much covered by the Shoveldude's lovely lady (Sherri). I love how you both think! I've had enough "stinking thinking" for a life time! I've got a very good sniffer and it's not hard at all to smell the wonderful fragance of the Living Christ in your thinking and writing.

Richard


Posted: July 2, 2001 by Sharyn

Another good dig.
It is so funny lookingback at when I became a new Christian and seeing all the religious garbage that was fed to me in the name of Christianity. And worse - even though I was of sound mind I believed and took on board the teachings because as a new Christian I really wanted to "do it right:. It took me years to realise that it was Christ in me that produced the fruit and I didn't have to make it myself. The same with "tithing"; "freewill offerings"; and "giving with a cheeerful heart". I tried so hard to be in the right attitude of heart yet struggling all the time . Looking at these scriptures again without the benefit of "religion" it is easy to see what Paul was saying. Jesus came to set the captives free not to see them bound up in a lot of religious rules made by man. It is liberating to be able to once again see God's word as it was meant to be - "


Posted: July 2, 2001 by Anonymous

« And worse - even though I was of sound mind I believed and took on board the teachings because as a new Christian I really wanted to "do it right: »

I never thought about it before but when it comes down to doing it right verses doing it wrong as far has having life is concerned, it's just a different flesh trip!! Can you smell it, boy is it ripe!!
Forget about the evil side of the tree of good and evil, I'll work with the good knowledge stuff...NOT!!!!


Posted: July 2, 2001 by Chris B

Hey Jim!

I loved this shoveletter! I wanted to add one little tiny thing though. I find it amazing that when we quit trying to follow those "Christian principals" and when our focus is simply on Jesus Christ and who He is, and our desire is simply knowing Him better - guess what happens??? Those principals become a part of our lives even though we are not trying to make it so!

Things like putting other people ahead of our own interests, sharing, being merciful, giving freely - all of these and more slowly become a part of who we are. I find that incredible.

As a little girl I wanted so badly to please my grandmother. I wanted to be the perfect child she was looking for (you see my mother failed miserably and I was my grandmother's second chance). Do you know the harder I tried to be good the more I failed? The harder I tried to make people like me the more they didn't. The harder I tried to remember my manners the ruder I seemed to get.

I think it's amazing that it takes us so long to realize that it's not about us! It's not about trying to follow the rules. It's about freedom and confidence!!!

Gosh if it were about me? I would still be that miserable failure!! I wouldn't have ANY friends - (because when I try to make them they run the other way). Thank God it's not about me! Thank God it's all about Him, and what He can do through me. Grace is so exciting - even on the days we would rather go back to bed we can learn something about His grace and peace. Awesome!

Anyways - I also want you to know that I am proud to consider you a friend - and you have encouraged me through your words of wisdom so much more than you will EVER know.

Sincerely,

Chris B

p.s. oooops I spelled principals wrong (principles) ..... see what I mean?
I'm a hopeless cause...LOL
Chris B


Posted: July 2, 2001 by Scott

"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"

I know this is an old thread but I have been 'studying' certain things such as having church every week, having a collection every week, etc. They all seem like traditions to me so I thought I would find some scriptural support for a weekly collection and weekly 'church'. I noticed that some bible versions have the word 'every' in the above scripture and some don't. I read 1Cor16:2,3 as a one time event, but then some versions throw in the word 'every' to mess up my thinking! But I still go with the one time event conclusion as the surrounding scriptures don't indicate this being a weekly occurence. Just wonder if any has any thoughts to enlighten me on this? Of course, if a church wants to have weekly collection and weekly meetings, fine by me.


Hello Scott!

No thread is too old to revisit ... except for some of the threads in my clothes! :)

As far as the weekly "collection", Paul had purposely made sure that nothing would be done in a public manner so that motivation of giving in order to be seen giving would be removed. You are right in questioning our modern premise using this passage for the weekly collections. This weekly setting aside of funds was done individually ("let each one of you put aside and save so that no collections be made when I come") for a period of time. I don't think there was ANY passing of the plate going on among them, but a private stowing away so that it could be privately gathered when Paul came with those who would handle the carrying of the money.

« Of course, if a church wants to have weekly collection and weekly meetings, fine by me. »

Any group may find a reason to gather together funds for specific needs at one time or another. It would be wise to do this in a way so that fleshly motivations are not given a platform on which to brag and intimidate others, thereby tearing down those not as fortunate. :)

Jim


Are you saying that the people back then were instructed to put away something every week and then at an appointed time it would be picked up by whomever was chosen to do that? It is the every week thing I question. Was it something done on a weekly basis and meant for all time? I guess it isn't extremely important as I don't see a problem with just saving up making a monthly contribution to whatever one supports. The weekly passing of the plate is one my least liked traditions of the church. It is like a funeral has just begun when the offering is started. Dreary music, stone faced ushers marching up the aisle with their baskets, the solemn passing of the baskets person to person, and all the consciences battling with what to give. Gotta be a better way. I have read testimonies of churches that did away with the offering and just put a central collection device somewhere in the church and giving actually went up in most cases. I wonder why.
Scott Brennan


Scott,

There is no sense of continuation in what Paul wrote beyond the matter at hand. As a matter of fact, what Paul wrote would actually CONTRADICT our modern-day practices of public showings of "generosity" and "obedience". I think he would have quite a few words to slam our silly little rituals whereby we think we are following the "requirements of scripture". What a joke!!! We make a mockery of those in need while building our huge edifices to the glory of our American "Christianity".

Jim :)


That is something that has always bugged me, the building of these huge mega-churches and ministry complexes. $15,000,000, $40,000,000, $150,000,000 and on and on the dollar amounts go. These organizations have massive direct market appeals, spending thousands and probably millions in the process, all for the glory of man. It is crazy! I think you are right, Paul would not have stood still for this sort of boasting. Christianity in many ways here in the US has certainly turned into a slick, Madison Avenue, publicity driven, money-hungry, whorish institutions serving the fat cats who sit at the top of these mega organizations and never afraid to ask for more. And those who give are usually doing it out of the promise of 10, 100 fold or more return on their investment because some televangelist has once again twisted scripture for their own benefit. Sow your seed! Stand in faith with us! Pressed down, shaken, blah blah blah. Pretty pathetic if you ask me.
(This is not a condemnation of all Christian organizations and their attempts to raise money as their are some that I believe do a good work)
Scott

I never wanted to give when it was required of me, not because I hate giving but for the sake of not appearing to consent to the foolishness of the mind that seeks to intimidate in the name of God. Something like what Paul suggested regarding not to eat when the host implies the food has been sacrificed to devils; not for one’s own conscience, for we know we cannot sin, but for the sake of theirs.
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