Giving, Flexibility, and Encouragement - 1 Corinthians 16:1-12

Giving, Flexibility, and Encouragement

How often are we contributing to the ministries of God?

How often are our plans too rigid for God’s will?

How often are we belittling our brothers or sisters in Christ?

1 Corinthians 16:1-11
1 Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. 3 And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me.

I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go. 7 For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

10 When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am. 11 So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers.

12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to visit you with the other brothers, but it was not at all his will to come now. He will come when he has opportunity.
God calls us to be diligent and good stewards of what He has provided us. Paul was asking the Church in Corinth to set aside a collection so that he may bring it to the Christians in Jerusalem in support of their ministries over there. Yes, we are called to help the poor, but we are also called to support the ministries and missionaries that God has put before us. We are investing in these areas to further the Kingdom of God.  Paul asked them to start setting aside ahead of time. This allows them to slowly pull together what they can over time, and even a little bit over time adds up. How often do we plan ahead in preparation for something or save for an upcoming vacation or large purchase? Paul is asking them to plan ahead and set aside a little bit at a time. 

However, this should be done out of love and not purely out of obligation. We must invest in God’s ministries but it should come from our hearts. We need to seek the Lord with our giving. We need to seek Him and allow God to guide our hearts and guide our giving. 

Next, Paul discusses his plans on visiting the Church of Corinth. He expresses that he would love to spend a season with them and fellowship with them. He would prefer it to not be a quick passthrough. However, Paul understands that it is the Lord’s will if this happens. Paul is completely trusting the Lord and leaning on God’s will. He remains flexible so that he may be used by God. How often are we remaining flexible to the will of God? Paul also notes that he recognizes a great opportunity for God’s work because of adversity. He understands that there are opportunities for ministry because of the opposition. 

Finally, Paul asks the Corinthian Church to act favorably toward Timothy. Paul understood that the Corinthians had trouble respecting the authority of Paul, so he asks that they welcome Timothy and encourage him. Timothy is doing the Lord’s work, and having fellow believers put you down and discourage you can be disheartening. Additionally, Apollos was listening to the Lord's will, not Apollos' own will. Be flexible and patient for God's will in your life. 

How often are we put down and not encouraged by our fellow believers? Are we building up those around us and encouraging them to continue doing the work of the Lord? We must remember that struggles will continue and likely increase when we are doing the Lord’s work. We will face opposition and adversaries, so it is important to strengthen each other through the love of Christ. Therefore, encourage and love one another. Demonstrate kindness and respect to those around you, especially your brothers and sisters in Christ.

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