1 Corinthians 16:1-2 (NASB 2020)
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you are to do as well. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put aside and save as he may prosper, so that no collections need to be made when I come.
There is an interesting trend in our modern culture that seems to put great value on spontaneity. The younger generation loves to “live in the moment” and things like “10 year plans” seem a thing of the past. This mindset is especially true when it comes to how we view charity. There is a real skepticism towards famous rich figures who put together multi-year plans donating vast percentages of their fortunes. Often these donations are met with suspicion and seen as far less genuine than the ever popular “random acts of kindness”. At the root of this suspicion is that a planned out gift is not as “authentic” as one that is given in the moment based off the current circumstances.
According to the Bible, nothing could be further from the truth. There are countless times when God instructs His people to make future plans or to do things with intentionality as a way to worship Him. At the end of 1st Corinthians, Paul makes this point very clear when talking about collecting money for the church in Jerusalem. Paul doesn’t want the church to simply wait until he is in town to take a free will offering, rather he instructs them to plan ahead and take a collection weekly, so it is ready at the time it is needed.
While some spontaneity can be wonderful, it is important for Christians to resist the idea that anything planned out in advance is less authentic. Much of what we do as believers can be greatly enhanced by the regularity and discipline that comes with intentional planning. Weekly church attendance, daily devotional time, nightly prayer, and the like can all lead to consistency that brings about a richness and depth to our spiritual lives.
When it comes to giving financially to the work of God, intentionality is crucial. The reason Paul instructs the Corinthians to take weekly offerings is not only so they can weekly experience the joy of giving to the church, but also so that the work can be supported at all. We all know from living in the world that money finds a way of getting spent. Very few Americans have even a few hundred dollars in savings. If we were to just wait till the end of the year to give out of what we have left, it would be quite likely there would be hardly anything to give! By intentionally deciding to give on a weekly basis, we develop a habit that shows giving back to the Lord is something worthy of our intentionality.
Whether it is tithing, time spent in the Word, worship, or fellowship, we should strive to approach every aspect of our spiritual life with the intentionality it deserves. Far from being inferior to spontaneous displays of worship, this approach is actually more authentic because it communicates the importance and value the work of God has in our lives.