Monday, March 30

Generosity, opportunity, opposition

Scripture: Judges 9-10, Psalm 49, 1 Corinthians 16

1 Corinthians 16:1–2 Now regarding your question about the money being collected for God’s people in Jerusalem. You should follow the same procedure I gave to the churches in Galatia. 2 On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once.

1 Corinthians 16:8–9 In the meantime, I will be staying here at Ephesus until the Festival of Pentecost. 9 There is a wide-open door for a great work here, although many oppose me.

Observation

Two things today (I’m violating my “one thing” rule).

First, Paul writes to the Corinthians about the offering they are receiving for the poor in Jerusalem.  He gives them the same procedure that he gave the Galatian churches.  

1. Give regularly.  He tells them to give each week—on the first day of the week, when they met for worship.

2. Everyone participates.  Each one is to give something.  Everyone was to participate in the offering as they were able.  (He gives more detailed instruction about this in 2 Corinthians 8-9.)

3. Give proportionately.  Each person was to give a portion of what they earned.  That portion would vary—some large, some small—depending on what one earned and decided to give.

Second, Paul writes that he will be staying longer in Ephesus because “there is a wide-open door for a great work here.”  Great opportunity!  But it was coupled with great opposition: “many oppose me.”  Paul didn’t let the opposition deter him from the opportunity.

Application

First, Christians are known for their generosity.  What strikes me about this offering is that everyone participated, whether rich or poor or middle class.  Everyone gave something.  Jesus once said, “Give to everyone who asks you.”  (Luke 6:30)  I heard a well-known pastor say that because of this saying of Jesus, he always gave something to anyone who asked!  I want to be more generous.  And I want Christians everywhere to be more generous!  

Second, never let opposition keep you from a great ministry opportunity.  Whenever you try to do God’s work, there will be opposition.  Don’t let that deter you!  Expect it!  And press through.  Paul stayed in Ephesus despite the opposition, and the gospel spread through that entire region as a result.  Expect opposition whenever you do gospel work—and keep going!

Prayer: Lord, help us be more generous, and more determined than ever in the face of opposition.  Help us do your work!