1 & 2 Corinthians: Day 23

The Lord’s Work

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Today's Text: 1 Corinthians 16:1-21, Leviticus 23:15-22, Deuteronomy 31:6-8

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 16:1-21, Leviticus 23:15-22, Deuteronomy 31:6-8

Almost everybody works in some way. Whether we’re raising kids, conducting high-powered business meetings, teaching in a classroom, or polishing nails at the local salon, most folks know what it’s like to have a job. You know what’s frustrating, though? Doing a ton of work, but having no idea what’s expected of you. This is what the apostle Paul is trying to avoid in his letters to the Corinthian church.

The Corinthian church was multicultural, multiethnic, and socioeconomically diverse. It seems the only thing everyone in this group of folks had in common was their decision to follow Jesus. I’m guessing the members of this community had their work cut out for them! Not only were they charged with the tasks of being the salt of the earth and the light of the world, but they also had to figure out how to live and work together in order to present themselves to Christ and to the world as a unified body—not an easy undertaking.

Paul is aware of this, and so, in a way, the book of 1 Corinthians serves as a job description for the early Church. The apostle makes clear what is expected of the community of believers who bear the name of Jesus Christ, and in the very last chapter, he closes with highlighting three growth areas for the Corinthian church.

Generosity. Paul is encouraging this church to share liberally from their financial resources to support the church in Jerusalem, which was experiencing difficult times. Note this: he didn’t ask the Corinthian church as an institution to support the Jerusalem church, but instead asked each person to set aside a portion of their income for the cause, every week. And if you earned a higher income, you were expected to give more.

Humility. Paul acknowledges four leaders who should be honored because of their work in the Lord. For Paul, honor and submission go hand in hand; you honor others by submitting your will to theirs.

Love. Paul commands, “Do everything in love” (v. 14). The motive for every word and every action should be love. It’s love that compels Paul to labor for the sake of the gospel, and it’s love that prompted him to write this letter to the Corinthian church in the first place.

Generosity, humility, and love. What do these three have in common? They are major attributes of Jesus Christ, the common denominator in the Church. Jesus was generous to humankind, becoming poor so that we could become rich. He humbled Himself by obeying the Father, even to the point of death. Jesus’ love was so great that He laid down His life for those who were His enemies.

This is good news for us! Just like the Corinthians, working as a unified Church is tough. But thanks be to God that we’ve got clear expectations lined out for us in God’s Word. And not only that—we have a perfect example in Jesus Christ, who sent the Holy Spirit to empower us to be the people God has called us to be.

SRT-Corinthians-Shareimage-Day23

Erin Rose lives and works in vibrant Richmond, Virginia, where she serves as Worship & Teaching Pastor at East End Fellowship.  She is a graduate of the University of Virginia, and is currently enrolled as a graduate student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  Erin is a member of Urban Doxology, a ministry that is writing the soundtrack of reconciliation for the church. Her greatest joy lies in leading God’s people in authentic worship, and teaching them the truth found in God’s Word. She also enjoys eating delicious food, spending time with loved ones, and indulging in the occasional Netflix binge.

  • Shelby Lynn

    What a great example we have, Jesus Christ. Despite us falling short of acting like Him; that’s okay. He is the best role model to look up to because he did everything for God. His life work was for God’s purpose. Are we living God’s purpose? Are we acting and speaking every word as God intended us to do so? Are we loving people how God wants us to? When people lash out at us, how do we respond..do we with love?

    Thank you Lord for giving us someone to look up to, to make you proud.

  • Monica Davis

    Honor those who labor well in the kingdom.

  • as often happens I got something different out of the passage today but to me that’s just the wonderful way that scripture speaks to us wherever we are at.

    “For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits.” school is out and I work from home which often leads to a chaotic mess of trying to enjoy summer while also keeping the bills paid.

    my kids are getting older and it’s harder to pay attention to them. my oldest wants to talk about bras and whybshe can’t have a bikini or a smartphone and my youngest is constantly doing some art project that results in a mess. my patience is wearing and I find myself all too often hitting my bed at night thinking “I didn’t talk to them today. I didn’t see them today. not really.”

    this was a great reminder for me that even though my job affords me the ability to be home with them all summer, being here physically isn’t the same as being present emotionally and mentally. I pray for the awareness to see when I’m just seeing them in passing and the strength to do the real spending time together.

    • Madi Schmidt

      This is such a great reminder! Thanks for sharing with us your thoughts!

    • Courtney

      ❤️

    • Karie

      Stay strong,mama!!

    • Michele Fordice

      Praying Grace over you momma! Your heart is so tender and beautiful. Being a stay at home momma AND working from home is two full time jobs. Sometimes your presence alone is all their hearts need. Praying he empowers you to love well!

  • These verses in the Message translation jumped out to me today. This is our calling no matter what our day to day looks like!
    “ 13-14Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping.”

  • My daughter is having some friend issues at school. She carries a lot of anger/fear/bitterness. I don’t know how to help her. She’s only 9 years old and this has been building for 2 years. Please pray for my baby girl. And pray for my husband and I to have the wisdom and understanding to navigate this tough time with our daughter.

    • KimN

      Lifting you and your family in prayer. Nothing hurts a parent’s heart like their child’s hurts. That age group can be awfully insensitive to downright mean.
      I’m trying to encourage our kids to look for understanding as to why unkind people act the way they do (looking for attention, hurt feelings, scared, not enough sleep!). It doesn’t mean the actions are okay or make them hurt less but it starts a bridge towards forgiveness & figuring out appropriate, healthy ways to interact (like keeping your daughter safe if that’s an issue). I also pour on the love at home and pray with my kids for the situation and the people involved. Are there activities outside of school or through your church that might offer a different group of friends to help build her confidence back? Working with the school or the other parents?
      It’s a tough time but as scripture told us today “ Be strong & courageous! Do not be afraid of them! The Lord your God will go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor forsake you.” Deut 31:8 NLT
      Sending big hugs for all of you!!! xoxoxo

    • Churchmouse

      Praying for your daughter and you and your husband as you all to to deal with this emotional situation. Our parent hearts just so badly for our children as they try to maneuver through the minefield of relationships. I’m praying for your daughter what I prayed for mine when they were young – Lord, give her one good Godly friend who will have her back and bring out all the good qualities You put in her. And may my daughter do the same for her friend. Just one, Lord. I’m asking for just one. Thank you so much. Amen.

      • KimN

        Love this prayer Churchmouse! As a kid I used to pray for a “kindred spirit” (I loved Anne of Green Gables!). My prayer was answered…. in college! And I was blessed ABUNDANTLY with 5 godly women that continue to be my dearest friends.

      • Becky

        I just wrote this prayer in my journal for my three young sons. I should pray this for my husband too. He does not have this in his life

      • Elaine

        did your prayer work? Did God listen?

    • Lisa Lewis

      Just prayed for you, your daughter and husband. All will be well. We can trust God. Jeremiah 29:11.

    • El McDonald

      Praying for your daughter – that must be agonising to watch

  • Indeed. Thanks be to God!!

  • Leslie Hunt

    “ ‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God.’ ” ❤️

  • Pamela McKerringMarkley

    I’m so thankful for a book like 1 Corinthians. I feel like our country and churches are so divided right now as seen in media and politics. I appreciate the urging to accept the beauty of our differences and remain unified in Christ.

  • Kelly Chataine

    The church I attend is having a bit of a unity issue because generosity, humility, and love were missing in action for a time. Generosity can be and should be shown with our financial means, gifts, talents, as well as with love and forgiveness. We need to be generous with our love and then forgiveness will flow more readily. Thanks be to God, Jesus was the most generous with everything and all!

  • Summer Chavez

    Yes!

  • Yes churchmouse, my prayer. I work AT a church and you think this would be easy. So needed this reminder.

  • Churchmouse

    Yes Erin, “working as a unified church is tough.” I’m encouraged however by four words penned by Paul in 1 Corinthians 16: 18 – “they have refreshed my spirit…” How sweet it would be if we would make this a daily goal: to refresh one another by words of comfort and encouragement. Would this not contribute to a unity of spirit within the church? That grumpy complaining brother or sister in Christ might be disarmed. That weary, burdened one might be lifted up. That lonely one might feel included instead of excluded. That misunderstood one might be heard from the depth of their soul. Yes. Let us be about refreshing one another. Let us carry that cup of water to the one who thirsts. Let us refresh even just one today.

  • Jesus surely was our true example of each characteristic mentioned. He showed humility, generosity, and love. I would have done things so differently than He did. When they mocked Him on the cross and said He couldn’t save Himself, I would have come right down and showed them. I would have arrogantly proved everyone wrong when they said or did anything against me, but He did just the opposite. He modeled how to live. I need to stop and think before reacting or acting of how Jesus would handle a situation. That’s not easy. Thankfully, He gives us the Holy Spirit to help. I definitely need Him! Thank You, Jesus for living the perfect life, modeling how to treat others, and being obedient even to death because of Your love for each of us. Amen. I just listened to a message by a guest speaker at http://www.harvest.org about humility. He was very funny, and taught a good lesson on the subject. I suggest listening. It’s worth the time. In fact, while I was listening, I was confronted with the opportunity to say some not so nice things to a family member or close my mouth. I closed my mouth! Glad he was on and I was listening!

    • KimN

      Thank you Kristen for putting so eloquently into words the very attitudes and behaviours I struggle with. Regularly. I look forward to checking out the link you’ve shared!

Further Reading...