By Chipley McQueen Thornton, PhD, Lead Pastor, FBC Springville
When we think of giving, we often think of money. A new year is rolling in. We should be mindful of giving generously this year. Yet, there is more to giving than money. I was reading 1 Corinthians 16. Jesus calls us to give from our treasure, our time, and our talents.
Treasure. 1 Corinthians 16:1: “Now concerning the collection from the saints.” What collection? Paul had started a collection in Corinth to take to the Jewish believers struggling from a famine in Jerusalem. It was a beautiful picture, really. Gentile believers donating to the needs of Jewish believers. Think about ways you can give generously this year from your treasures. 1 Corinthians 16:2 gives us some guidance: Each should give “as he may prosper.”
Time. 1 Corinthians 16:5: “I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter.” Sometimes, it’s easier for us to write a check than it is to “spend the winter.” Seven years ago, I set foot in our church for the very first time. One of the things that struck me today is how fast 7 years goes by. Our youngest came in a car seat. Our middle son was 2 and learning potty words. It’s amazing how fast time flies by.
We’ve done a lot of things in that time: to the property, to the church structure, to the church health. A lot of tasks accomplished. But if I could go back and change one thing, you know what it’d be? I’d focus less on “tasks” and more on “time.” You know what I remember most when I think back on these 7 years? I remember the shrimp boil at a church member’s house. I remember the lasagna at Ms. Jeri’s house. I remember the mission trip meetings in homes. I remember playing golf on Fridays with a senior adult member. I remember going to watch some of our church kids play baseball tournaments. I remember the Saturdays building our church playground. You know what my kids remember most? They remember when members took “time” to come to babysit them. They remember the “times” Mrs. Nancy gave them popsicles. They remember the “time” Pastor Andy coached their soccer team. They remember when people were generous with their time.
Stop worrying about tasks and checklists this year. Checklists will take care of themselves. You can always cut the grass tomorrow. These times, these days are going by quick. Be generous with your time.
Talents. Finally, give generously of your talents. 1 Corinthians 16:10: “When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you.” Timothy likely is en route to Corinth, but Paul expects this letter to beat him there. Timothy had physical ailments. Paul wants them to use their talents to welcome him hospitably and to help him along. Use your talents this year to serve Christ’s church, to serve Christ’s Kingdom, and to serve other people.
If you believe in the resurrection, generous giving will flow out of you: of your treasure, your time, and your talents.