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February 29

1 Corinthians 16, 1-3

Something to read

Now concerning the collection for the saints: you should follow the directions I gave to the churches of Galatia. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put aside and save whatever extra you earn, so that collections need not be taken when I come. And when I arrive, I will send any whom you approve with letters to take your gift to Jerusalem.
New Revised Standard Version

Something to think about

The easiest way to persuade people to give money to a worthy cause is to build up an intense emotional atmosphere, artificially create a setting in which passions run high, press people to empty their wallets while their feelings are out of control, and then bank the money before they change their minds.

That is absolutely not the approach that the Bible urges us to take when we respond to hunger or poverty. When Paul was exhorting the Christians at Corinth to give money to ease the plight of those in Jerusalem it was with these calm words:

• Giving should be regular. In Corinth the Christians put aside an amount each Sunday rather than scrambling money together when the collecting box appeared. It was an early forerunner of the bankers order that allows us to give in an organised and tax-efficient way today.

• Giving should involve everyone. But the amount should be in proportion to what an individual earns. Less prosperous people could take part in this act of Christian service, but not in a way that oppressed them.

• Giving should have dignity and integrity. The letters of approval and lack of pressure make giving to the poor seem devoted but humdrum. Perhaps that is how it should be.

Something to do

Of course, giving every 29 February would be 'regular' in the literal sense of the word but it would rather miss the point! Find out how to give to Christian Aid 

Something to pray

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Wealth and honour come from you; you are the ruler of all things. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.
From 1 Chronicles 29:11-14

Today's contributor is Peter Graystone of The Church Army and the Christian Enquiry Agency, who wrote the daily readings for Christian Aid's surefish.co.uk while working at Christian Aid


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