The Discipline of Giving
On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come (1 Corinthians 16:2).
Years ago, when I was in military school, we were given five cents each week to spend at the canteen (that is where they had the candy). I tried to stretch that five cents as far as I could, but I really wanted to buy more. We also were given a dime to put in the offering every Sunday at chapel. But one Sunday when the offering came, I started thinking about how much candy a dime would buy. So I kept the dime. Then I bought a bunch of candy. I also got a stomachache, and I felt guilty all week long. Even as a small child, I understood that dime belonged to the Lord and that I had taken something that was God’s.
Giving is a personal act, and every one of us should set aside an amount of money to give. Even children ought to be taught this. It might be a few pennies, a nickel, or even a dime. But they should be taught that they should give to the Lord.
Some people might say, “I think that is legalistic. I like to just give as it comes to me. I like to give in the moment.”
Yet Paul instructed the believers to set something aside ahead of time (see 1 Corinthians 16:2). In reality, is it actually legalistic to say, “I am going to take a portion of my income and set it aside to be invested in the work of the kingdom of God”? That is not legalism, friend. That is good planning and obedience. And it is a good way to live.