By Rev. Heath Curtis

I appreciate the way the King James Version translates 1 Corinthians 16:2:

“Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.”

St. Paul was talking about the collection for the saints in Jerusalem who were undergoing a famine.

But the principle Paul draws upon is a universal biblical maxim: We are called to give a generous, first-fruits proportion of our income to the Lord’s work in the church.

That includes both almsgiving like the collection for the Jerusalem famine and also the support needed for the ongoing ministry of the church, like the tithe for the Levites.

As it says in the New Testament, “The Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14).

This is something for us all to keep in mind as the government prepares to send stimulus checks to nearly every American household.

For some Americans these checks will replace income lost due to being out of work during a state or local stay-at-home/shelter-in-place order.

But for others, the checks will come on top of regular income that has continued even in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.

So, in the days ahead, consider your family’s well-being and how the Lord has blessed you, and decide:

What percentage of my income (including this stimulus check) should be directed to the Lord’s work in my congregation? How is the Lord calling me to be generous in this situation?

Coronavirus resources

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Concordia Plan Services, Concordia Publishing House and other LCMS entities have compiled resources to assist congregations, schools, church workers and members during the coronavirus pandemic.