MARCH 1

Today's Bible Readings
     Exodus 12:22-51
     Job 30
     Luke 15
     I Corinthians 16
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
''On the first day of the week let each of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come." (I Corinthians 16:2)
 
CONCERNING THE COLLECTION
            As we enter the final chapter of Paul's first epistle to the church at Corinth, we discover a radical change from the doctrinal to the practical.  The inspired Apostle has discussed eloquently the resurrection body of the believer, and now brings us abruptly from the future life back to the present life. The Holy Spirit wants us to know that what lies ahead in resurrection glory places great responsibility on the present.  The first practical issue of Christian living Paul discusses is that of giving.  In our memory verse is implied a number of principles concerning Christian giving that form a solid basis for Christian giving in any age.
            The Period: We are to bring our offering to the Lord on the first day of the week. This not only convinces us that the church met on Sunday, but that its worship included regular giving of money. Our giving is not to be spasmodic based upon our feeling, but giving is to be systematic and done every week on the first day of the week.
            The Participants: The phrase ''each one of you'' is all inclusive. No Christian is excepted or excused. We are stewards of whatever the Lord has given us no matter how little it may be in economic terms; in fact, our generosity for the Lord's work is best determined on what we give when we have little. The best gauge of your faithfulness is not how much you give but how much you have left over after you have given. ''He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much."  (Luke 16:10)
            The Place: Just as our giving is primarily for the church, it is also primarily to and through the church. It seems clear that it is a part of our worship since it is done on the first day of the week. The first post-resurrection service was held on Easter evening when the risen Lord appeared to His frightened and disheartened disciples. (John 20: 19-20) ''His next appearance was after 7 days," and was therefore on another Sunday. From then on, the first day of the week was referred to as ''the Lord's Day''. (Revelation 1:10) It is obvious from the study of the book of Acts that the basic pattern for giving was to bring offerings to the church to be disbursed  as the leaders saw fit.
            The Proportion: Paul's exhortation was that the Christian was to give ''as he may prosper." Many would say that this proportion is 10%. That is based on a misunderstanding of the nature and purpose of the Old Testament tithe. Ten percent may be a good place to begin, but it is only a beginning. A study of Old Testament tithing indicates that the people gave several tithes according to the time and purpose of their giving. It is obvious that a wealthy man can give more and a poor man may give less; therefore, it is the amount left after the giving that is the best gauge of the gift. The tenth is only the place to begin and a faithful steward will continue to discover that he can never out-give God. ''Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. '' (Luke 6:38) ''But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. (II Corinthians 9:6)
            As you approach the Lord's Day this week, consider prayerfully the proportion of your material possessions to invest in the Kingdom of God.
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
            Historically and Biblically, we know of the Republic of Turkey as the former Asia Minor, in which is located the Seven Churches of Asia. Just off the coast of Turkey is the Island of Patmos where John received the Revelation. We also know Turkey to be a nation of more than 70 million souls who have faced a great deal of adversity. Several recent earthquakes have made things even more difficult for this nation. Turkey is almost 100% Moslem. The very few evangelicals who represent less than one percent have a difficult task of sharing the Gospel. Short-term missionaries are unwelcome to do any propagation of the Gospel. Pray today for Turkey.
 
A WORD FOR YOUR WORLD TODAY
''Are we afraid to prove Him? Is our faith and love so small that we tightly grasp our little when He freely gave His all?''
Roselyn C. Steere