Paul is a member of a missionary community motivated by love. The primary love that they share is not their love for one another, but their love for God and his work. Paul explains his desire to be with the Corinthians, but his primary concern is with an opportunity that has opened up in Ephesus. Fortunately Paul is part of a network of early missionaries who include Apollos and Timothy. Are you connected with those whose primary concern is to see the gospel worked out across the world?
1 Corinthians 16: 5-18
5After I go through Macedonia, I will come to you—for I will be going through Macedonia. 6Perhaps I will stay with you awhile, or even spend the winter, so that you can help me on my journey, wherever I go. 7I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. 8But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, 9because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.
10If Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am. 11No one, then, should refuse to accept him. Send him on his way in peace so that he may return to me. I am expecting him along with the brothers.
12Now about our brother Apollos: I strongly urged him to go to you with the brothers. He was quite unwilling to go now, but he will go when he has the opportunity.
13Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 14Do everything in love.
15You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints. I urge you, brothers, 16to submit to such as these and to everyone who joins in the work, and labors at it. 17I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. 18For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.
- Where is Paul about to pass through geographically?
- Which people does Paul list in his network of missionaries?
- In what manner should the Corinthians do everything?
- Is your love shown in your support for missionaries?
- How could you develop a network of friends who work together for the gospel?
Pray about the small group that you are in adopting a missionary. Talk to your small group leader if you think this is something that you should do.