1Co 16:1-4 “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. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.”
In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, there are two instances that stand out to me regarding how we are to treat the saints of God. Galatians 6:2 says we should take up each other’s load. In verse ten, we are told not to grow weak in doing well. Our concern for the saints of God should be such that when they are burdened, we feel ourselves to be under the same weight.
At the close of chapter fifteen of First Corinthians, Paul admonishes us to abound in the work of the Lord. He immediately turns to seeing to the needs of the saints as a continuation of that thought of abounding in the work of the Lord. Giving for the needs of God’s people should be something that we do with zeal and regularity. It is never to be an afterthought in our service to God.
Upon the first day of the week, everyone who is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and has been prospered by God should set aside a portion to see to the needs of the saints among us. This should be one of the duties that each congregation feels a desire for. Again, this is not to be some last minute effort of scrambling about to come up with whatever we have left over. It should be something that is deliberately thought about, prayed over, and prepared for.
Our laying in store is to be done with consideration of how God has helped us on life’s road (see Strong’s definition of “prospered). The church should have people approved for the handling of this important task. This does not mean simply brothers and sisters to whom we have said “We will assign this responsibility to you.” The word approved carries with it the idea of having been examined and tried for their fitness to see to the matter.
This task most often seems to go to those who have been set aside by the church as deacons. Certainly, these men should have been examined and tried, but it does not necessarily have to be the deacons that see to this. If the Lord has put in our midst brothers and sisters who are passionate about the care of the saints, use that passion and thank God for the gift of it. As long as they are approved by the church for the task, send them to carry this joyful gift from the church to those in our midst who are in need.
May God give us the grace to lay aside in our lives first that which is needed for the saints (whether it is monetary aid or spiritual encouragement) that we may abound in the work of the Lord and not grow weary!