February 10, 2019

Continuing Obligation – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

I was recently asked about a question that arises fairly often among conscientious Christians. The inquirer was concerned about whether or not one’s contributions should be “made up” if absent from the first day of the week assembly. There is no passage that deals directly, specifically with this question. However, there are a number of biblical principles, that when considered together, provide answers.

“The sum of Your word is truth,…” (Psalm 119:160)

First, we must understand that Christians are taught to associate themselves with fellow Christians, to function together as a local church.

“When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples;” (Acts 9:26).

This local congregation of fellow Christians constitutes the only functional arrangement authorized to carry out Christ’s mission on earth.

“Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons:” (Philippians 1:1)

Christians associated in this manner form a single, complete functional body of Christians.

“For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ….For the body is not one member, but many.” (I Corinthians 12:12, 14).

Only one specified method is “ordered” (I Corinthians 16:1) for obtaining funds necessary to carry out the authorized work of that body. This is the first day of the week contribution.

“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside…” (I Corinthians 16:1)

The apostle Paul compares the work of this local church to the responsibilities of a family.

“(but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?)” (I Timothy 3:5)

We must understand that individual Christians are uniquely related in a functioning body, a family, that they are in a relationship that does not exist with other local churches. Then, we should realize that the responsibilities we have as a part of that body do not float around or transfer when we temporarily visit other churches. As when a bread-winner in a family is out of town, so it is with responsibilities in a local family of Christians.

It is possible to fulfill these responsibilities on the occasions when one is absent from the first day assembly, in a number of different ways. It may be wise to plan ahead and leave your contribution with a brother or sister who can place your donation in the “collection” for you, on the first day of the week. If not, remember that your responsibilities did not dissolve just because you were out of town. Your family’s bills must be paid, even while you are at Disney World. Likewise, the responsibilities did not dissolve just because you were out of town. Your family’s bills must be paid, even while you are at Disney World. Likewise, the responsibilities of your local body, the family of God, continue.

When the Lord was in the temple in Jerusalem, He was interested in and watching the many, very different examples of giving.

And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.” (Mark 12:41-42)

We all need to be reminded, He is still interested and still watching.

“Therefore openly before the churches, show them the proof of your love and of our reason for boasting about you.” (II Corinthians 8:24)

 

 

 

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