The Collection for Jerusalem
16 Now regarding your question about the money being collected for God’s people in Jerusalem. You should follow the same procedure I gave to the churches in Galatia. 2 On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once. 3 When I come, I will write letters of recommendation for the messengers you choose to deliver your gift to Jerusalem. 4 And if it seems appropriate for me to go along, they can travel with me.
Paul’s Final Instructions
5 I am coming to visit you after I have been to Macedonia, for I am planning to travel through Macedonia. 6 Perhaps I will stay awhile with you, possibly all winter, and then you can send me on my way to my next destination. 7 This time I don’t want to make just a short visit and then go right on. I want to come and stay awhile, if the Lord will let me. 8 In the meantime, I will be staying here at Ephesus until the Festival of Pentecost. 9 There is a wide-open door for a great work here, although many oppose me.
10 When Timothy comes, don’t intimidate him. He is doing the Lord’s work, just as I am. 11 Don’t let anyone treat him with contempt. Send him on his way with your blessing when he returns to me. I expect him to come with the other believers.
12 Now about our brother Apollos—I urged him to visit you with the other believers, but he was not willing to go right now. He will see you later when he has the opportunity.
13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. 14 And do everything with love.
15 You know that Stephanas and his household were the first of the harvest of believers in Greece, and they are spending their lives in service to God’s people. I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, 16 to submit to them and others like them who serve with such devotion. 17 I am very glad that Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus have come here. They have been providing the help you weren’t here to give me. 18 They have been a wonderful encouragement to me, as they have been to you. You must show your appreciation to all who serve so well.
Paul’s Final Greetings
19 The churches here in the province of Asia send greetings in the Lord, as do Aquila and Priscilla and all the others who gather in their home for church meetings. 20 All the brothers and sisters here send greetings to you. Greet each other with a sacred kiss.
21 HERE IS MY GREETING IN MY OWN HANDWRITING—PAUL.
22 If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed. Our Lord, come!
23 May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.
24 My love to all of you in Christ Jesus.
Two things really stand out to me today about Paul. First is his confidence. He doesn’t really ask for an invite when he is mentioning his plan to come and stay with them for the winter, but it is rather matter of fact. And I think he gets this confidence from the second thing which is how personal Paul is. He mentions people by name like he has known them forever. It seems Paul really got to know these people, and had a deep relationship with them. It was clearly more than just surface level. Relationship is so important when reaching out to others. If we can’t take the time to get to know someone, why would we expect them to listen to what we have to say? He even signs it himself with his own handwriting, this tells me they meant something to him.
3 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. 14 And do everything with love. A short sentence with a lot of instruction. It seems like a quick thought Paul threw in randomly to once again remind the Corinthians of what he was talking about throughout the whole letter, one last bit of teaching before he wraps it up.
Paul exemplified “do everything in love”. He had taken the time to get to know these people which turned into great respect for Paul. Is there someone you have one your heart that needs the Lord? Don’t invite them to church, invite them to your house. Invite them out for coffee. Spend time with them. Get to know them. Then invite them to church once you’ve earned that right. Today, let’s pray about who we can get to know better so we can earn a chance to tell them about Jesus.
Lord, I know so many who don’t know you. Who shall I create a relationship with? Give me words to speak and a love in my heart for this person. Help me to genuinely get to know them, and they get to know me. Help me to hold my tongue until You tell me it’s time to share the Good News. Thank you Jesus, amen.