1 Corinthians (The Message Version unless otherwise noted)
1 Corinthians 16
Coming to See You
1-4Regarding the relief offering for poor Christians that is being collected, you get the same instructions I gave the churches in Galatia. Every Sunday each of you make an offering and put it in safekeeping. Be as generous as you can. When I get there you'll have it ready, and I won't have to make a special appeal. Then after I arrive, I'll write letters authorizing whomever you delegate, and send them off to Jerusalem to deliver your gift. If you think it best that I go along, I'll be glad to travel with them.
Jesus, help me to "be as generous as I can". With my money, and my time and my love. You know what I can afford. There are so many poor people in the world. There are so many near me who need love and time. Help me Lord to fulfill Your desires for me. Help me to give freely for You will supply all my needs.
5-9I plan to visit you after passing through northern Greece. I won't be staying long there, but maybe I can stay awhile with you—maybe even spend the winter? Then you could give me a good send-off, wherever I may be headed next. I don't want to just drop by in between other "primary" destinations. I want a good, long, leisurely visit. If the Master agrees, we'll have it! For the present, I'm staying right here in Ephesus. A huge door of opportunity for good work has opened up here. (There is also mushrooming opposition.)
Jesus, Paul was so totally submitted to You. He wanted to stay in Corinth for a long visit, but he quickly added "If the Master agrees". He simply accepted that You were the boss, and You knew better than he did. Lord, help me to be like that. Help me to just simply put the direction of my life, my family, my business all in You hands. Give me faith to walk with You and the wisdom to know what that is.
10-11If Timothy shows up, take good care of him. Make him feel completely at home among you. He works so hard for the Master, just as I do. Don't let anyone disparage him. After a while, send him on to me with your blessing. Tell him I'm expecting him, and any friends he has with him.
12About our friend Apollos, I've done my best to get him to pay you a visit, but haven't talked him into it yet. He doesn't think this is the right time. But there will be a "right time."
13-14Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you've got, be resolute, and love without stopping.
Jesus, that is one powerful and simple verse, to the point. Lord, somehow make that me. I'm getting tired and I feel myself getting weak. Wake me up and revive me. Make me strong, but loving. Help me to live a 'revved up" life for You and in Your love. Change me Lord.
15-16Would you do me a favor, friends, and give special recognition to the family of Stephanas? You know, they were among the first converts in Greece, and they've put themselves out, serving Christians ever since then. I want you to honor and look up to people like that: companions and workers who show us how to do it, giving us something to aspire to.
Jesus, could I ever be an inspiration to anyone? I really don't want to be. But could anyone ever say, "Jesus, if You are what makes Dan tick, I need to meet You"? Now that would be awesome. Help me live a life like that Lord. A life that leads to you. Change me Lord. Help me to be a servant like Stepanas' family obviously is.
17-18I want you to know how delighted I am to have Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus here with me. They partially make up for your absence! They've refreshed me by keeping me in touch with you. Be proud that you have people like this among you.
19The churches here in western Asia send greetings.
Aquila, Priscilla, and the church that meets in their house say hello.
20All the friends here say hello.
Pass the greetings around with holy embraces!
21And I, Paul—in my own handwriting!—send you my regards.
22If anyone won't love the Master, throw him out. Make room for the Master!
Jesus, my life does get too full for You sometimes. I fill my time and days with such unimportant things. Everything is unimportant compared to You because I can't do anything without You. You are the vine. Lord, help me to keep my priorities straight. Help me Lord. Keep me Lord.
23Our Master Jesus has his arms wide open for you.
24And I love all of you in the Messiah, in Jesus.