Paul has dealt with a lot of big issues facing the young church in Corinth. The last one before he closes this letter deals with their giving. It was important then, and it is important now. I always appreciate when I am part of a congregation that is mission focused. Living as a missionary here in Mexico has given me a whole new perspective.
Paul’s wisdom on collecting for missions is based on consistency. First, he uses a model that is consistent with another church. When you find a process that works, it’s easy for others to rely on and model after it. Paul is also urging them to set aside their offerings consistently. “Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once.” When we put a little away each week, it is much easier to be generous.
Think about your own giving. Are you happy with the missions you support? I know I get a thrill when I see the payments come through on our bank account for the ministries we align with.
As Paul brings this letter to a close, I find myself wishing that I was there, anticipating Paul’s visit. Don’t you just wish you could sit down with Paul? Think of the great conversations you could have about your journey of faith with someone like Paul whose life changed abruptly in one moment. He has been on fire for Jesus ever since that day on the road to Damascus.
The people of Corinth have a lot to look forward to, but they also have a lot of work to do. Paul has given them a lot to think about in this letter. Paul also wants to give them the heads up that Timothy will be coming, too. Timothy was younger, so Paul must have thought it best to remind the Corinthians to give Timothy the respect he was due. After all, God’s work is not limited by age. How old were you when you first started telling people about how Jesus had changed your life? It’s never too late (or early)!
Paul gives his readers more tips for how they can live as they grow deeper in their faith. “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” Powerful! Those words speak loudly to us as well.
Let those closing words of Paul rest in your heart today. With all that is going on in the world, these words of Paul are still relevant for us. Think about what it looks like to be on guard, standing firm, courageous and loving. We can all do a better job of those things as we await Christ’s return.
Let’s pray …
Father God, help me to be courageous as I stand firm in my faith. When I open my mouth to speak, Lord, may love come flowing out. Guard my heart to keep me immune from the lies of the evil one trying to convince me of untruth. Thank you for how you will use me today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.