1 Corinthians 16

This devotional is written by Marina Johnson.

1 Corinthians 16

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The collection for the Lord's people
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.

Personal requests
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 labours 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.

Final greetings
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.


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Paul sounds a bit like a sports coach giving a pep talk before an important match: "Be on guard... stand firm... be courageous... be strong!" But then he says something somewhat paradoxical v 14 "Let all that you do be done in love". What?! How can we be on guard, stand firm, be courageous and strong, and at the same time be loving? The truth is that we can't - too often we try to display love out of our own strength and emotion. And fail. This kind of love can only be lived out when we allow God's spirit to live through us every day.

God wants us to do the best we can in sharing His truth and loving others, but our best isn't good enough to express His love in His world. That's where Jesus comes in (1 John 4:7). God wants everything that we do for Him in this life to be done in love. That includes glaring at the stranger who barged us on the tube, confronting your best friend, disagreeing with your sibling, rebuking a sister or brother in Christ.

We see love as an underlying motivation that repeats itself many times throughout this letter to the Corinthians. Love is the no.1 quality that believers should display in whatever they do and say (1 Cor 13:1-3). Yes, we are to be strong and brave in sharing our faith but not at the expense of running others over. Love acts as a safeguard for us. If we share Him from a genuine place of love and care for others, even if we are wrong and speaking from our own heart rather than God's, it's hard to fault someone trying to "love you".

How do you display love towards others? Would your friends and colleagues note love being one of your most observable characteristics?

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