In the Bible, people gave various gifts to God, for various purposes. People had a duty to give, both for the work of God and to help poor people. In particular, God’s people gave a tithe, which was a tenth part of their income*. Not to give the tithe, was to rob God*.
Although it was a duty to make these gifts, God wanted his people to give with glad and grateful hearts*. So he made wonderful promises to his people if they obeyed him*. He would show his kindness to them; they would see that their wealth came from him.
It would have been easy for Paul to control the church at Corinth by means of a series of strict rules. However, Paul chose not to do that*. Paul was not teaching people to obey rules, but to serve God gladly. He wanted Corinth’s Christians to give as an act of love, and not because of shame, fear or a sense of duty. He cared much more about their relationship with God, than about the amount of money that he collected.
So, as Jesus had done in Matthew 6:3-4, Paul told Corinth’s Christians to decide about their gifts secretly. What they gave was a matter between them and God. Nobody should force anyone else to give more than that person had chosen. Then, their attitude in front of God would be right. They would give with a joyful and willing attitude; and God loves that. God would be pleased to see that they gave gladly.
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.