READING: 1 Corinthians 16:1-24, Acts 19:21-20:6, Romans 1:1-32
The final words of the book of 1 Corinthians are almost hard to believe. This church was a messy church – divided, not dealing with sin in the camp, suing each other, not growing, arguing over spiritual gifts, etc. Some opposed the apostle Paul. At times, his words to them were consequently strong . . . stern, even, when necessary.
Still, he closed this letter with the most intimate closure of any of his recorded letters: “My love be with all of you in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor 16:24). Paul genuinely loved this church—all of them, in fact. In Christ, he could love even those who were problematic, and he wanted them to remember that truth even as he confronted them. Even his warnings were expressions of love.
Wise pastors can learn something here from Paul. Loving the people God calls us to lead really does matter, especially when we must speak hard truths to them.
PERSONAL REFLECTION: Do you truly love the people of God?
DAILY PRAYER: “Give me, Lord, a deep love for Your people—including those who seem problematic.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Romans 2:1-4:25