There are at least three take aways for me in this passage:
- Paul invested a lot in this community. On his second missionary journey he spent 18 months teaching the Word of God. So he spent more time only in Ephesus. What happened in Corinth was similar to what Paul told the elders of Ephesus would happen in Acts 20:29 – 30. The church was assaulted by false teachers and the Corinthian church drifted from what Paul and his crew had shared with them. Thus the two letters. The take away for me is that regardless of how much we pour into our kids, an individual, or a community there is the reality that the enemy will continually and intentionally work to lead them astray.
- Paul left Corinth after 18 months. Paul got reports from there and sent some of his people there to continue the ministry. Seemingly as soon as he left the false teaching and the drift away from the truth began. This suggests that we need to have a consistent presence in mission efforts. While short term missions are transformative for those who go on the mission, it is the ones who stay that have the greatest impact. In either case, whether present or absent, those who were impacted by the mission must be reminded of the truth continually.
- Twice in Paul’s closing remarks he mentions that he is praying for the Corinthian church, 13:7 and 9. There are three things that Paul prays for them:
- That they do no wrong.
- That they do what is right.
- That they will be made complete.
This last take away is huge for me. The work Paul did in Corinth was not complete. He had to remind them but more importantly he had to pray for them. Our main work in investing in our families, others, and our communities is in prayer.
I am weak in that. Lord teach me to pray.