1 Cor 16:1-4 - The gathered community matters
Our bible reading today brings us almost to the end of Paul's letter to the Church in Corinth. He wrote it so that he could encourage the Corinthian church to hold true to the faith of King Jesus, to trust him and follow him as they lived out their lives in community, impacting the wider community around them. Much of this letter addresses the challenges they confront daily as members of the Body of Christ. In these 4 verses, we see the heart of Paul purposefully exposed; a heart focused on community, generosity and unity of the Lord's people. Surrender of life to the will and purpose of the Creator of the universe is expressed through the way the Lord's people express their devotion in practical outworking. There is physical need within the community of the Lords people in Jerusalem, and the expectation is that the Lord's people elsewhere (specifically mentioned Corinth and Galatia) will express their unity and provide for them. (vs 1, 3). Weekly offering 'on the first day of every the week', which demonstrates that the community of God's people were committed to weekly gathering for worship on the day that was identified as resurrection day. We also see the unity and diversity of the community, so beautifully illustrated throughout the letter and especially in the Body of Christ metaphor, in the simple instruction that 'each one' as they gather. The individual members of the Body of Christ, gathered in each of these house churches, are to give a weekly sum of money 'in keeping with their income', so that the mission of God and the care of the wider church community is shared and resorted.
Its interesting to note that the name Paul gives to this offering is a 'charis' - a grace gift, which certainly is a reflection of the 'grace that they themselves have received from God as the Spirit has been at work in them. Everything they have, the spiritual gifts, the resources, their income and life itself all comes from the Jesus the Christ. How might you express your partnership in the mission of God as you share in fellowship in this church and as you live out the grace at work in you as an individual, gifted to serve. Have you intentionally and prayerfully reflected on how you might share in the work of the Kingdom as you set aside each week a gift in proportion to your income?