Sunday, September 13, 2009

Systematic generosity (I Cor. 16)

The late US Senator Ted Kennedy enjoyed an income somewhere north of $1 million / year, and a major interest in a family foundation worth hundreds of millions. His 2002 tax returns, a matter of public record, indicate that he donated just a bit over $2,700 to charity. In his letter to the pope requesting prayer, Ted could not bring himself to say those three words so hateful, so damn near impossible, for liberal politicians: "I was wrong."

Well, maybe he said those words to the only Judge whose opinion matters. Maybe a century from now, we'll discover that his hidden hand bequeathed massive sums to secret charity. Since I'm not God, I don't know.

Still, let's look at a Biblical picture of routine, normative, religious charity:
1Co 16:2 Haftanın ilk günü herkes kazancına göre bir miktar para ayırıp biriktirsin. Öyle ki, yanınıza geldiğimde para toplamaya gerek kalmasın.
And, a few words:
  • Haftanın -- of the week
  • ilk -- the first
  • günü -- day
  • herkes -- all, each (of you)
  • kazancına -- your gains
  • göre -- according to
  • bir miktar -- a religious offering
  • para -- fiscal
  • biriktirsin --separate out
Routine. Regular. On the first day of the week. Something all functioning believers are expected to do. Personally, not by proxy. In our church, we are frequently reminded -- it's not that God needs our money. It's just a fact that we need to build generosity into our lives, if we are to live as we were designed to. As Martin Luther said, only Satan, and men controlled by Satan, live only for themselves.

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