1 Corinthians 16:1-4 refers to a gift that the Christians in Corinth were collecting to help poor Christians in Judea. Paul also refers to this gift in Romans 15:25-28 and 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9.
Churches should not only collect money for their buildings and for their leaders. Godís people should help poor people (Proverbs 22:9). The first Christians considered this to be a very important matter (Galatians 2:10).
Christians consider it both a duty and an honour to give. They should give gladly (2 Corinthians 9:7). They should not give with a desire to impress other people (Matthew 6:1-4). God provides generously for people who give (Luke 6:38). When Christians give to help poor people, they are really giving to God (Matthew 25:34-40).
Paul did not force the Christians in Corinth to make this gift. In Romans 15:26-27, Paul says that they were pleased to give it. In 2 Corinthians 9:7, he urges them not to give any more money than each of them has freely chosen to give. Nobody should give merely because he ought to give. However, by their gifts, they have an opportunity to thank God for his goodness to them.
Clearly, Paul had also arranged for the churches in Galatia to make a similar gift. The Christians in Macedonia wanted to give too, although they themselves were very poor (2 Corinthians 8:1-3). So Christians from several countries were joining together to help the poor Christians in Judea, whom they had never met. They were genuinely excited to be able to show their love for other Christians in this way. Christians across the world consider themselves to be one family: Godís family. This gift was an expression of that fact. They were providing for their brothers and sisters in the family of God.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.