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Thoughts on Giving
Number 9 - "On The First Day of the Week"
By James M. Pendleton
      In laying by in store on the first day of the week as God has prospered us, there is a frequent recognition of his hand in our prosperity. There is a practical acknowledgement of the fact that success in business comes from him. And this is in the exact accordance with the truth of the case. It comports entirely with the teachings of the Bible. If God clothes the grass of the field, he surely superintends the worldly interests of his people. If he feeds sparrows, he certainly furnishes his children with the means of subsistence. If his care of those who trust in him is so special, that the hairs are all numbered, it is altogether credible the [that] he blesses them "in their basket and in their store." [Deuteronomy 28:5] He knows what things they need, and while they "seek first his kingdom and righteousness," all necessary temporal blessings "will be added to them." "Trust the Lord and do good," is a divine command; while the promise annexed is, "so will you dwell in the land, and verily will you be fed." [Psalm 37:3] The agency of a superintending Providence is too much overlooked in these degenerate times. Some would almost ostracize Jehovah from the world he has made; and others would suffer him to perform no operation in it, except in some peculiar exigency. It would no doubt be productive of happy consequences if Christian[s] everywhere practically recognized, once in every week, their obligations to God for the prosperity that crowns their exertions. By such recognition God would be glorified as the Providential Governor of the world; for it would involve a consciousness of dependence on Him as the "Father of Lights from whom comes every good and perfect gift." [James 1:17]

      Again, if the method of making weekly contributions to the promotion of benevolent objects were adopted, these would be in much deeper interest felt in those objects - This will be denied by no one who understands the philosophy of the moral beings. Such is our organization that we are especially interest[ed] in those enterprises for the advancement of which we do something. If a man would excite his solicitude in favor of any undertaking, let him invest a portion of his capital in it. His thoughts and loyalties will be where his investment is. So if Christians would have their feelings deeply enlisted in behalf of Missionary operations, Bible societies, Sabbath Schools, Publication and Tract Societies, &c. let them give liberally to the important objects. Their interest will increase with the increase of their donations. Casting their offerings periodically into the treasury of the Lord; they will cherish an ardent solicitude for the accomplishment of those purposes to which the resources of that treasury are applied. Nor is this all. The interest referred to, which systematic giving will keep constantly alive, will excite a spirit of prayer. Christians will pray for the success of those enterprises in which they feel interested. And this is what the churches need - "the spirit of grace and supplication" - such a sense of their dependence on God as will keep them by day and by night at the mercy-seat, earnestly imploring help from on high - importunately interceding for a world that lies in wickedness. "Prayer moves the arm that moves the world," and God's people must give him no rest till he make[s] Jerusalem a praise in the earth. They must offer the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous, which avails much. If then the plan of making pecuniary contributions to the cause of God, which the Apostle Paul prescribes, is happily adapted to excite an interest in the benevolent enterprises of the age, and if that interest is equally well adapted to excite a spirit of prayer, how evident the propriety of adopting that plan!

      Once more: if Christian were to proceed with the direction given by the Apostles to the Corinthian Church the treasury of the Lord would be full to overflowing. The universal adoption of this method of raising funds to sustain the philanthropic enterprises of the churches would mark the brightest epoch in the annals of beneficence. The rich would then give of their abundance; for they would feel that their wealth created a solemn responsibility. Acting under this impression they would "rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate." [1 Timothy 6:18] Those to whom God gives neither poverty nor riches, but a competency, would conscentiously consult their ability and regulate their donations according; while the poor would not overlook the obligation growing out of the possession of these resources, but would make even their "poverty abound unto the riches of their liberty." ****** No longer would be it be necessary to send agents North, South, East or West, to plead the cause of God and solicit contributions for its support. All such agents, if ministers might become pastors. Every one in our American Israel, laying by him in store as God prospers him, there would be abundant means to sustain missionaries in every clime, and send the Bible to men of every dialect. Then might the bread of life, so far as pecuniary means have to do with the matter, be especially distributed to earth's famishing millions, and the invitation, "Whosoever will let him take of the water of life freely," [Revelation 22:17] be sounded in the ears of every child of Adam. These are some of the happy results which would follow were Christians to lay by in store on the first day of the week as the Lord, prospers them. - P.


[From the Tennessee Baptist, February 25, 1860, p. 2, from CD edition. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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