Generous God, who gave all for me, all I have is Yours. Use it as You would.
1 CORINTHIANS 16:1-24
Are you giving freely and generously?
I love the fragments of biographical detail at the end of Paul's letters, about ordinary people living in a different era and culture, yet, like us, seeking to follow Christ. The Christians in Jerusalem faced chronic economic hardship, so Paul rallies the mainly Gentile churches in Asia to support them (1-4; see also 2 Cor. 8,9; Rom. 15:25-32). As ever, in planning his visit to Corinth, Paul shows the special place the Corinthians have in his heart.
He writes of individuals he cares for. Timothy (10) has already been to Corinth (4:17). When he returns they must care for him, allowing him to exercise his ministry. Apollos (already mentioned in 1:12; 3:4-6,22; 4:6) will return, but not yet. We don't know why. Stephanas, originally from Corinth, has gone to be with Paul, taking Fortunatus and Achaicus, who may have been in his household. These men should be trusted and respected. The final greetings resonate with the warm appreciation that exists between Christians in different places.
Paul certainly knows that churches are messy, yet his commitment to nurture faith in Christ is profound and lasting. May such warmth be apparent in your church!
Consider those whom God has put you into relationship with. Pray specifically for them.
Spirit of God, work in me so that I may see the unseen as the real and live for what matters.
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