As Paul wraps up this first letter to the Corinthian church he gives special instructions about collecting money that give us insight into church life. The money was to be collected on the first of the week (Sunday), which indicates the early church had already replaced the Sabbath day with Sunday worship. Sunday was the day Jesus rose from the dead.
The money was collected as a reverse missions offering. The churches that had been planted by Paul were raising money for the church in Jerusalem, the church that had sent out Paul. There were a couple of reasons for this type offering. First, Paul wanted to establish the legitimacy of the Gentile church and his mission. An offering to take care of the poor and orphans of the mother church is a great way to demonstrate the church’s legitimacy. Second, the Jerusalem could have really used the gift with general calamities it had recently suffered and persecution that was arising.
Paul instructs the church to show Timothy some hospitality (16:10). Those first missionaries were first sent out with little reserves. As they traveled from place to place, they relied on the hospitality of individuals in the church. This benefited the church as they were influenced by ministers such as Timothy, Paul, and Apollos. It also benefited the ministers in that it meat their needs.
Paul reminds the Corinthians to make sure that all they do is done out of love (16:14). This becomes an excellent measure to evaluate our thoughts and deeds. Can we truly say that what we’ve said and done is out of love for God and neighbor? If not, perhaps we ought not do it.
FATHER, Thank you for the many churches in the world today that exist because you used your missionaries established gospel outposts. I pray that we would remember the faithfulness of brothers and sisters who have gone before us to establish the bodies that we so gratefully minister to and through today. I ask that we continue to open our doors and hearts to your ministers. I pray that we evaluate all that we do and seek to operate from a pure heart. Thank you for the grace to pastor your church. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.
What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.