Biblical

Giving

Jot

One's relationship to God through Jesus Christ may either obligate or privilege him to do enriching service to his fellow man, according to means and circumstances. A partial list follows:

These will suffice for examples. It may be noted that not one service needs to be performed through any institution or organization.

It is interesting to compare the way in which Jerusalem disciples gave and Corinthian saints gave. The twelve were ever present in Jerusalem and led in their daily administration to the needy. Paul's arrival at Corinth was impending when he ordered a readiness of a one time bounty for saints elsewhere by Corinth's First Day storing (1 Cor. 16:1-2).

Both the Jerusalem disciples and Corinthian saints laid down their gifts for needs of others. Jerusalem laid theirs at the apostles' feet. Corinth, in absence of Paul, laid down their gifts by themselves in store, perhaps a central storage place, for Paul's direction of apostolic disposal when he was to have arrived. The Holy Spirit chose the word, "lay," to describe the way they parted with their gifts. It was the same word used to describe the way they put away their dead. They laid them in the tomb (Acts 4:37; Matt. 27:60). They laid down their possessions, to depart from them, as in death, in order that their possessions became relief gifts to the needy. The twelve at Jerusalem directed that the giving disciples select men from their midst (seven) to see a fair and impartial distribution. This was individual giving and individual receiving in orderly action. Paul directed a choosing of men from among the saints to accompany Corinthian gifts, along with Paul's company, to it's destination, the poor of Jerusalem. There was no organizational, establishmental or institutional involvement, whether by the so-called "Divine church institution," or "outside institutions, organizations, or corporations.''

Paul directed saints to lay by on the First Day. That was the usual day of comings together ( I Cor- 11:18; 16:2; Acts 20:7). The reason Paul gave for a First Day storing was explained in his purpose phrase, "that there be no gatherings when I come." Without his purpose phrase, the First Day laying by in store would have been without reason.

"The Church of Christ" today has traditionally seized upon a part, the First Day command of Paul, to mean that all giving must be through the "church," as a centralized disbursement treasury, to be administered by the elected elders, who are to be one-hundred percent in authority in such.

If all "church members" (?)givings be to the "organized church," so it can get the glory, certain questions are raised. (1) Are all elders today the same as apostles, or their successors? (2) Is the specific instruction given to Corinth, in every detail, generically binding upon all today? (3) Is Paul to arrive at all churches today, making it sensible for them to perform First Day giving only, that there be no gatherings when he does come? (4) Did the twelve, along with all Jerusalem disciples, sin without obeying a strict First Day injunction, as from Paul? (5) Would a saint sin today by giving directly all other gifts, as noted in paragraph two, this article? (6) Was the specific laying by in store by Corinthian saints for the poor of Jerusalem the same as a perpetual general disbursement of a church treasury today? (7) When does a specific example become a general law in all details?

Visualize a man one week-day, along Jericho Road, robbed and wounded. A typical "Church of Christ member," whatever that is, passes by on the other side. This "member" enters his favorite pew (phew!) the following Lord's Day. He tells the elected elders of the "organized local church," so they could take the matter up, and later send back to the man's need, in order for that church to get the glory! Corban! Shall we wonder why sects misunderstand us?

Should each saint always individually give directly to every opportune good work or need, and stop at that, there would be no divisions over institutions "doing the work of the local church." The "church institution" concept breeds "outside institutional" concepts to "do the work of the local church."

A saint is a called and set apart individual unto God. Such a one is not a mere "church member." The total of all saints in any place and consideration is God's ecclesia (1 Cor. 1:2). The ecclesia serves Christ when all saints serve Christ. Lest we forget!