Day 23

The Lord’s Work

from the 1 & 2 Corinthians reading plan


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

BY Guest Writer

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.

Post Comments (38)

38 thoughts on "The Lord’s Work"

  1. Elle says:

    Indeed. Thanks be to God!!

  2. Leslie Hunt says:

    “ ‘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.’ ” ❤️

    1. Agnes Mahendran says:

      Hi Leslie, which verse is this from? It’s lovely, I’d love to read the context.

      1. Lindsey Theisen says:

        leviticus 23:22

      2. Kara says:

        It was part of today’s Leviticus reading!

  3. Pamela McKerringMarkley says:

    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.

    1. Mary Cassady says:

      Amen!

    2. Jennifer Martin says:

      Amen!

    3. KimN says:

      Amen! I heard a message recently that talked about how churches should not be in “competition”. If a church is preaching the truth of the gospel of Christ, we should rejoice for it’s another lighthouse in the darkness!

  4. Kelly Chataine says:

    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!

  5. Summer Chavez says:

    Yes!

  6. Claudia says:

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

  7. Churchmouse says:

    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.

    1. Brandi says:

      Yes! Thank you for this!

    2. Tricia C says:

      Sometimes this can be difficult, but you are right. When we take the time to encourage others, we ourselves may find encouragement.

      1. KimN says:

        Amen Tricia!

  8. Kristen says:

    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!

    1. KimN says:

      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!

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