by V. P. Black
The duty of every Christian is to give. We are to give our time and our talents to the Lord (Matthew 16:24-26;Romans 12:1-2). We are also required to give of our money to the Lord each first day of the week. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come” (1 Corinthians 16:1-2.) This special collection was for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem, but this does not mean that a collection need not be taken up each Lord’s day for other authorized works of the church. The passage authorizes a way by which the early church received funds for a particular work of the church. Thus any authorized work of the church can be funded in the same way—through freewill offerings on the Lord’s day.
1 Corinthians 16:1-2 teaches that our giving is to be regular. “Upon the first day of the week” literally means “Upon the first day of every week.” The verses teach that every Christian is to give. This makes it personal. The text tells us how much to give: “as God has prospered” us. How much is that? Just consider how much God has prospered you spiritually. Consider Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 2:38; and 2 Peter 1:3-4. How much has the Father of lights bestowed upon you physically?
Some have the false notion that if they give of their time and talents to the Lord, then they can slack off in giving of their money to the Lord. The Lord, however, demands our time, talent, and money. The Macedonians first gave themselves to the Lord, but it did not end there. That was the key to their giving financially. Though in deep poverty, they gave financially beyond what was expected (2 Corinthians 8:1-5). A good giver is one who gives himself first. Show me an individual who gives of his time and talents to the cause of Christ, and I can show you one who is also more than likely a generous giver.
Some mistakenly think that because the apostle Paul said that we are to give as we have prospered that it means one can give less than ten percent. However, a Christian ought to strive to begin his giving at ten percent. Under the inferior system of patriarchy, ten percent was given. Having rescued Lot from Chedorlaomer and company, Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:20; Hebrews 7:1-3). Since Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek and Christ is a Priest after the order of Melchizedek, does it not stand to reason that we should give at least a tenth to Christ who is a far better Priest and King than His type? When Jacob was at Bethel, he made a vow to the Lord that if the Lord would be with him, give him food and raiment, and bring him safely back to his father’s house, he would give the Lord a tenth (Genesis 28:16-22).
V. P. Black was a an outstanding and beloved evangelist for many years, particularly in Mobile, Alabama. He was a strong supporter of Christian Education. He passed on to his reward in 2007.