Until a few years ago this subject was broached in many congregations only with fear and trembling, because, for some reason or other, it was not considered proper to think and speak of the business of the congregation as such Hut due to an agitation which was inaugurated chiefly by the members of the congregations themselves, the prevalent idea of an onerous duty has been replaced in most communities by that of a cherished privilege. Just as the pastors are the stewards of the mysteries of God and are expected, in the name of Jesus and in the stead of the congregations, to dispense freely from the unlimited treasures of God's grace, so all church-member, being stewards of the goodness of God and holding their property in trust for the Lord, are investing the property entrusted to them in the interest of the Owner and are realizing rich returns.

For such Christian giving the believers have the very best reasons. They have before them the example of such as have given evidence of their readiness and willingness to invest their money for the Lord. 2 Cor. 9, 1. 2. It always gives a Christian an unpleasant feeling to find out that others have preceded him in some work in which he, by virtue of his discipleship, feels an interest, whether it is a matter in his own congregation or one concerning the Church at large. And if this willingness has been seconded by a zeal which carried his intention into cheerful execution, if it is a willingness not of the mouth merely, but of the hand as well, then its influence is bound to be all the greater. 2 Cor. 8, 1-5. The report that some small and comparatively poor congregation has done more in proportion than one that is large and wealthy cannot but act as a spur to all laggards. The ideal condition would be that mutual zeal would act as a mutual provocation to give evidence of the proper spirit and lore to the Lord.

Another reason which impels Christians to give according to ability, especially where their charity toward the poor and needy is appealed to, is the fact that the recipients will hare the actual benefit of the gifts. Moneys collected for purposes of charity, to give assistance to fellow-Christians or to outsiders, especially if the matter is attended to as carefully as the collection for the brethren in Jerusalem undertaken by Paul, will provide for actual needs and will not bring luxuries. But the prayers of those benefited will rise to the throne of grace in behalf of the donors and that certainty will act as an additional spur to all Christians that are able to help and do not make their charities a matter of dead routine. Then there is also the certainty of an increase of fellowship which accompanies proper and milling giving. The hearts of the recipients and the donors are united with one another in a communion of love which is bound to redound to the advantage of all.

But the final and the most impressive reason for Christian giving is the remembrance of the love of Christ which was shown us in the entire work of redemption. If a Christian realizes the unspeakable folly, wickedness, and guilt of sin; if lie actually has some idea of the fact that he deserved God’s wrath and displeasure, temporal death, and eternal damnation, by reason of his sins; if he then contemplates that wonderful, unselfish devotion which prompted God to give His only-begotten Son into death for his sake, then all feeling of avarice and all love of self is dismissed and eradicated, to make place for a cheerful and free demonstration of charitable affection toward his neighbor, 2 Cor. 8, 8. 9.

So far as the method in Christian giving is concerned, the Word of God does not lay a commandment upon the believers of the New Testament. But the advice of the apostle with regard to systematic giving is certainly worth the profoundest contemplation, if not an outright heeding, 1 Cor. 16, 1. 2. His suggestion to give regularly and systematically, if possible, every Sunday, has been found so valuable in actual practice that few congregations would want to return to a different method of gathering funds for their own households as well as for outside purposes. The haphazard methods followed in some quarters, according to which every member has his own time for contributing funds for the various treasuries inside and outside of the congregation, is not to be recommended even from the standpoint of human experience and nature. Paul’s advice was inspired advice and has proved its value in every way.

As to the mode and manner of giving, finally, the suggestions of St. Paul to the Corinthians are also well worth heeding. He urges that every one give what he can, as the Lord has prospered him, 1 Cor. 16, 2. It is the feeling that all the gifts of this life are evidences of God’s goodness and unmerited love which should impel a Christian to give as well as to determine the amount which he invests for the Lord, Prov. 19. 17. This is brought out still more strongly by the admonition that every one give according as he purposes in his heart, what his heart, under the influence of the love of Christ, thinks will be the proper and adequate amount. A gift that is not made with cordial willingness defeats its own ends so far as the approval of the Lord is concerned. It is for this reason that St. Paul adds: Not grudgingly or of necessity; the feeling as though he were being robbed, as though extortion were being practiced on him, must not be found in a Christian’s heart, if the collections are made in the spirit which the apostle here advocates. A Christian acting under the constraint of the reasons given by the apostle will be glad to scatter his gifts with a free hand, letting no feeling of miserliness govern any of his actions, for God loveth a cheerful giver, 2 Cor. 9, 7. 37)