By Ron Adams
Whenever the subject of “contributing” is discussed, most often it involves talking about supporting the work of a local congregation financially. It takes money to pay for the upkeep of the building and to carry on the work of the local congregation. Many churches report the weekly contribution along with the budget, keeping its members informed of the financial status.
The New Testament has a number of references that provide guidelines for the local congregation in meeting its financial needs. Yet, it’s interesting to note that most of the verses cited initially concerned a one-time collection for needy saints in Judea.
What is revealed in Paul’s epistles (especially1and 2 Corinthians) is a project whereby brethren in churches in other countries would provide aid to the needy saints in Judea. This was a one-time event wherein Paul instructed the brethren (many of whom were Gentiles) to share their material resources with mostly Jewish brethren in Judea. He instructed the churches to “lay by in store” so the collection could be picked up by him and his traveling companions. It would be taken by them, along with any representatives of the participating congregations, to Judea.
The “rest of the story” of contributing can be overlooked when the focus is only on the congregation’s treasury.
‘CONTRIBUTING’ INCLUDES GIVING, SHARING
Giving, and it’s close relative, sharing, are part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the beginning of the church there were many instances of brethren contributing to the needs of others. Not all of the giving and receiving involved money. It was giving and sharing what others needed.
The same is true today. Sometimes what is given doesn’t have any monetary value. The giving of time to help a brother or sister with a load too heavy to carry. Lending support to one in need of spiritual, physical or emotional assistance. Giving words of encouragement, consolation, or exhortation to a brother or sister. Doing deeds of kindness that contribute to the welfare of others.
Such acts of giving and sharing are worth their weight in gold .... contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality (Romans 12:13).
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15
"Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ ... So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith." Galatians 6:2,10
THE MOTIVE: LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER
The giving and sharing are not done to receive recognition. It is done because members are motivated by love to do whatever they can.Thus, we are not privy to all of the occasions of giving and sharing by members done individually or collectively. Let each one contribute using his or her unique resources, abilities, and opportunities. Doing what you can, with what you have, where you are.
“In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus,that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”Acts 20:35
- Ron Adams publishes F.Y.C., a monthly publication. Bible references are from the NASB except where another translation is referenced. Back issues are archived at http://ra10ar.com Be thoughtful and kind. All rights reserved. © 2020