1 & 2 Corinthians

Day 23: The Lord’s Work

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

 

When you come across the word “all” in Scripture, there’s no ancient secret hidden meaning that you need a special handshake or password to access. Then, as now, “all” means all.

“My love be with all of you in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 16:24).

When it came to the Lord’s work, Paul did not adhere to any hierarchy of persons. In one breath he advocates for Timothy. In the next, he respects the plans Apollos has in place. Then he turns to throw major kudos in the direction of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus. And then he ensures that Aquila and Prisca get name recognition. Paul went to great lengths—not only in letters, but also in life—to make sure all meant all. As one who had experienced the grace of the Lord Jesus, Paul was serious about sharing with others what was shared with him.

But even within that wide net, Paul kept an eye on those in need. 1 Corinthians 16 starts out with pointed words regarding “the collection for the saints” (v. 1). Paul was clear. As you prosper, don’t forget to set some aside for those who are not. It is these verses that Leviticus refers to, Moses was clear: Don’t harvest it all. Leave a margin there for others (Leviticus 23:22). Such intentional kindness was truly a facet of the Lord’s work, a tie to bind the people together so that all always meant all.

I’ve witnessed this repeatedly in the life of my pastor-father as he has been grandfather (Papa) to my children, and also to my nieces. I wrote a poem about this in my book Know When To Hold ‘Em: The High Stakes Game of Fatherhood (Abingdon Press, 2013). This truly is the Lord’s work.

If he knows the grandkids are coming
he leaves piles of quarters and
nickels and dimes on his nightstand,
along with a few starlight mints.
He’s been doing this for years now.
He knows they never ask,
just take, all they can get.
He gets joy out of it,
them getting away with something of his.
It’s his way of giving them a tie
to bind, later, after he’s gone.
Remember when we used to steal Papa’s change?
And maybe, just maybe,
they will in turn love the small and poor
as they were loved.

Written by John Blase