A Network of Care and Compassion

August 22, 2019

When Paul came to Corinth, he was apprehensive, not only because of what was behind him but also because of what he feared might be ahead of him.

For Paul, Corinth was a time of transition from hopelessness to hope, from bleakness to brightness, from an intractable situation to an exciting community. The first thing that took placed in Paul’s life was the gradual, cumulative support of friends like Priscilla and Aquila. All of them strangers in a strange city, they began to forge a friendship through their common work and their common worship.

That’s the great thing a Christian community can provide: the opportunity to establish a network of care and compassion that can support you when you are in distress—the way Paul was in distress when he first came to Corinth. When the wind gets knocked out of you, and as you gasp and finally begin to get your breath, you find that people have gathered around you. Faces emerge from the blur. Individual faces. And they are there for you. That’s what the body of Christ was meant to be. And that’s why we need it. Because at some time or other, we’ll all be disoriented, discouraged, and in distress.

Eugene Peterson shared this message in a sermon to his congregation based on Acts 18. The insight is published in The Message Devotional Bible, which can be purchased at navpress.com and wherever Bibles and books are sold.