CHURCH IN ACTION
Pray for someone who has benefitted your spiritual walk.
Read 1 Corinthians 16:1–24
The Collection for the Lord’s People
16 Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 3 Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.
5 After I go through Macedonia, I will come to you—for I will be going through Macedonia. 6 Perhaps I will stay with you for a while, or even spend the winter, so that you can help me on my journey, wherever I go. 7 For I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.
10 When Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am. 11 No one, then, should treat him with contempt. Send him on his way in peace so that he may return to me. I am expecting him along with the brothers.
12 Now about our brother Apollos: I strongly urged him to go to you with the brothers. He was quite unwilling to go now, but he will go when he has the opportunity.
13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.
15 You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people. I urge you, brothers and sisters, 16 to submit to such people and to everyone who joins in the work and labors at it. 17 I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. 18 For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.
19 The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house. 20 All the brothers and sisters here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
21 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand.
22 If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed! Come, Lord!
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.
24 My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectReflect on God’s goodness in providing people who encourage you and support you.
I love the way that Paul moves seamlessly from profound theology to everyday matters. First, there are instructions about a collection for the church in Jerusalem suffering from famine. Paul wants giving to be regular and in line with income, and he wants accountability in handling the money—principles that still apply today.
Then we get these cameo pictures of real people involved in the life and ministry of the first-century church: moving around, working hard, serving others. Clearly they had the same sort of problems with decision-making that we do, with discussions about whether Apollos should go to Corinth or not, and when Paul should go, given the opportunities in Ephesus. Aquila and Priscilla used their house for the church meeting in Ephesus, after leaving Corinth. Twenty years after the death of Jesus, here are small interlinked groups of believers in different parts of the Mediterranean world drawn together by a common faith and shared love.
We don’t exist in isolation but in a fellowship of followers of Jesus, locally and internationally, and on a much wider basis than these churches. There is much to be said for having an active interest and partnership with churches in our own location and across the world.
What more could your church or you personally do to foster these sorts of relationships? Do you know of a need in your local community of believers that needs to be met?
Pray today for other churches in your area and for those you know in other parts of the world.