The Collection

We all know that the main rule in church these days is to never talk about money. But, the Bible talks a lot about money, including encouraging Christians to give generously to support the expansion of the church.

For example, in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2:

1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. 2 On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. 3 When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem; 4 and if it is fitting for me to go also, they will go with me.

Of course, a “collection” was a collection of money. In this case, it was a special collection for the “saints” (Christians) in Jerusalem—something done on the “first day of every week”. Obviously, it was simply done in the main weekly gathering of the church—the Sunday evening meeting.

It was something Paul expected of all the churches. He wrote, “as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also…”. So, for this particular collection, the Christians were encouraged—by their own free will—to give every week so that when Paul came, the collection would be ready to go and he could get it to Jerusalem as quickly as possible.

Roman 12.8And, many other parts of the New Testament make it clear that a collection—the giving of money for the expansion of the gospel—was standard practice:

Romans 12:6–8: 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

2 Corinthians 8:1–5: 1 Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, 2 that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. 3 For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, 4 begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, 5 and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.

Ephesians 4:28: 28 He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.

1 Timothy 6:17–19: 17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.

So, in our weekly gatherings, we take up a collection. Just like the early churches, we have needs that need to be met. We want to do good works in our community. We have leaders we want to support (1 Corinthians 9:14; 1 Timothy 5:17-18). And, we consider it a privilege to serve our God by supporting the work He is doing through our churches.