1 Corinthians 16:1..

1 Corinthians 16:1… 

What we see as Paul bids farewell to the church at Corinth at the conclusion of his first letter is his tender concern for The Church. (Not just the church at Corinth, but The Church as an institution, worldwide.)

His concern and care is demonstrated in several ways.

First off, he reminds those at Corinth of the plight of the church at Jerusalem, which Paul obviously considered to be ‘the Mother Church’ in those days. Even though the church at Antioch, Syria had been Paul’s sending church on his missionary journeys, it was always the church at Jerusalem Paul returned to first at the conclusion of each.

The church at Jerusalem was constantly in a financial bind as a result of their location in the very heart of Judaism. Not only did the church experience great persecution, (Paul as Saul being one of its chief persecutors prior to witnessing the risen Christ and his own personal conversion,) but its individual members would have struggled greatly by the ostracization of the perception of the Jews they had left the Jewish faith to follow Christ. (Of course, we know and Paul knew they had not left the Jewish faith at all – but completed it.)

But as Christians they could not work with the Jews, they could not buy and sell with the Jews, and they would have been excommunicated by now from all Temple and synagogue worship and from their families as well.

This would have led to the church at Jerusalem constantly being in a financial bind, and its members really struggling to survive.

Paul arranged a collection from the mission churches he founded as a means of expressing their goodwill to those who were in such dire need at Jerusalem. Not only did this teach the newly founded churches the blessing of giving, it also showed the church at Jerusalem the Gentile converts to Christianity had a loving concern for their Jewish convert brethren.

But Paul was also careful in how he gathered funds from the churches he collected for this cause, as is indicated here. He desired this to have already taken place prior to his arrival, so he would not have to cajole them into giving in any way. He desired this giving process to be completed out of the goodness of their hearts led by the Holy Spirit rather than after his arrival and under some sort of perceived compulsion to give just because Paul said so.

He indicates his loving concern for Timothy, and for the church he is presently serving in Ephesus, as a great and effective door for ministry has opened for him there. In each case, as Paul so gently and wonderfully indicates his concern for The Church by his love for each church, and each person in each church, he invited them to join him in his loving concern, and that invitation spans the generations to us today.

Pastor Bill