16:1 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. 2 On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. 3 When I arrive, whomever you may approve, I will send them with letters to carry your gift to Jerusalem; 4 and if it is fitting for me to go also, they will go with me.
In typical Paul fashion he has completed the teaching portion of his letter and is now taking care of some items before giving his farewell greetings to end. First issue is the famine in Jerusalem which is so severe and well known that no explanation is needed or given. He wants them to make it the first priority of the week for each family to set aside whatever they can and when he arrives it will be sent (with letters from him to those in Jerusalem) by whomever they designate.
Some have used this as an attempt to show the church in Corinth met and worshipped on Sunday. Not only is that unsubstantiated anywhere else, it isn't substantiated here either. Why would each family need to set money aside on the first day of the week if they were at church? Paul is advocating a personal savings strategy so that when he comes everyone will have whatever they can give ready to go. It just goes to show how we all desperately look for anything to back up what we want to be true.
That issue aside, there is something much more positive and amazing happening here that would be easy to miss. Christians in Galatia and Corinth are setting aside money to send to Jerusalem. Jerusalem - the religious center of the most prideful and prejudice people on the planet. To them Galatia and Corinth are less than nothing. Gentile dogs live there. I point this out to show how much the gospel is changing people. Yes there are issues in Corinth in the church. Sexual sins are still waging war. Pride and division are trying to multiply like cancer cells. Spiritual gifts are being misused and abused. If you are looking for perfection you will have to search somewhere else and yet the effect Jesus is having on them is undeniable. As a pastor for over 20 years I can tell you there are two areas where people get really "human" really fast - food and money. Don't tell people what to eat or what to do with their money unless you are ready for push back.
And yet these less than perfect (yet saints in the eyes of God) people have hearts big enough to send their own money to a city that has for centuries hated them.
Jesus changes hearts. Maybe not as fast as we think He should but He works at our pace. He forces no one. He loves relentlessly and let's us do with His love as we choose. In Corinth they are choosing to extend His love to their enemies and that is a beautiful thing.
It's almost a year now that thousands had to flee Fort McMurray. I well remember the generous outpouring of support. I was proud both of my church and my community and the entire province. Love is not dead yet. Where Jesus abides it never will be.
Love awakens love and love wins.