I don’t know about you but I am looking forward to the Christmas season and I know it is a little bit early to start talking about the holiday season but I can’t help but long for that time of being with family and enjoying the festivities. During Christmas time my family and I love to spend time playing games but also watching all the Christmas movies that are a must like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Home Alone, The Nativity Story, Elf, and The Polar Express. But my all-time favorite Christmas movie and book has to be A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. If you aren’t familiar with the story, it is about an old grump called Ebenezer Scrooge who hates the Christmas Season and is altogether just a mean, wealthy, and bitter individual. Throughout the story he is guided by Christmas Spirits who show him his Past, Present and if he does not change, his Terrible future. When he wakes up on Christmas morning, he is a changed man who has the joy of Christmas in his heart. I love this story because Scrooge is changed and given redemption but what I love most about it is that he does not just change, he begins to impact the people around him for good. At the beginning of the story, His employee Bob Cratchit is being paid an unlivable wage in 1800s London and can barely provide a decent Christmas Dinner for his family, not to mention pay for his son Tiny Tim’s Medical Expenses. At the end of the Story, we see Mr. Scrooge anonymously buys the family a Huge Prized Turkey but then the day after Christmas he Raises Bob’s Salary and helps the family with their medical expenses which sees Tiny Tim is made healthy again.
In the Final chapter of 1st Corinthians Paul is giving his final greeting and instructions for the Church in Corinth. He is making them aware about a collection being taken up from the other churches to the believers in Jerusalem which have been struggling. He advises them to set aside money at the beginning of the week to give to the Jerusalem Church, whilst being good stewards of their personal finances and income. If we look back throughout the book, we see that the church of Corinth has a wide socioeconomic range from Slaves as mentioned in Ch.7, Nobility in Ch.1, and even government officials such as the Treasurer of Corinth who is mentioned in Romans 16. Much like the church today we are made up of all sorts of different socioeconomic ranges and what still applies today is charitable giving. God wants us to give to those in need whether that is monetary gifts or prayers. All of us in the Church are blessed and we are called to give as part of being stewards of God’s Money. True we work for our paycheck but we forget that it is all his in the first place. He has given us our talents, resources, and health to complete the tasks that he has called us to. For this reason, we tithe but what Paul is mentioning is that we should also give to those that are in need and within the Christian church at that time one of their churches needed help. That doesn’t mean that we must only give out money but even more I believe God would want us to give of our time in service and in prayer. You see, Paul then instructs the Corinthians to pick a delegate among them who could go to Jerusalem to give the gift as well as show the Jerusalem Church they stand with them. I think that is why I love the Christmas Carol so much. Scrooge did not Just want to give them the turkey and call it good, he wanted to get involved with the Cratchit family by using his time and Resources. I love that at the end of the story it mentions that “Scrooge had become a better master and a better Friend” and all this was because he got involved. Yes, the money from his business gave him extra to give but the giving of his time is what truly changed him from being stuck all alone. Some of us may not be millionaires or have much to give at all but I love that Paul encourages us and the Corinthians that it is good when we give of our finances but even more when we give of ourselves to show others what they mean to us.
Paul finishes this first letter by telling them the hellos of other churches and the coming other church leaders. What I find so interesting is that he mentions longing to see the people of Corinth soon and not just see them but be with them for a long while. Paul was not wanting to just be a distant leader of the Church but wanted to be with them. Like the giving mentioned earlier I can’t help but notice that the theme of this chapter must be about being present with people and giving of yourself. I know I am just as guilty as the next person when it comes to reading the last chapters of the epistles to have the tendency to rush through them, especially when it mentions the greeting and listing of many different people. But as you go about your day today, I want to encourage you as you read the chapter, that you give of your time to God to sit down in what seems to be the mundane and absorb the words, he wants to speak into you or if he has called you to give towards something. And as you interact with other people, be present with them and give of yourself through your time and love as Jesus loves us.