Aug 25 2010 - Family (1 Corinthians 16:1-4)
When you read the last chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians you quickly become aware of the fact that the Christians at Corinth belong to a wider family. Greetings are sent from the churches in Asia as well as mention being made of a number of individuals such as Apollos and Timothy, Aquila and Priscilla.
One of the ways in which this new relationship is expressed is the collection (1 Corinthians 16:1-4). Paul is organising a collection from the predominantly Gentile churches around the Mediterranean to be sent to the Christians in Jerusalem and Judea who were suffering because of a famine. This collection served not only to supply their needs but also as a practical expression of unity – that Gentile and Jewish Christians had become one family in Christ. Paul seems also to have hoped that gifts from Gentiles being brought to Jerusalem might have caused unbelieving Jews to see that God is establishing his promised kingdom through Jesus the Christ and that they might turn to him.
We are members of a family that stretches around the globe. When Christians in Africa (or elsewhere) suffer hunger we cannot remain unmoved; we need to do what we can to help. When Christians in Muslim countries suffer persecution we cannot remain unmoved; they are family. We need to ask how Paul’s collection can find practical expression among us today. Our prayers are not enough.