Spending the Winter Together
Reading 1 Corinthians, a person cannot help but shake their head at the problems present in that congregation of the church. There were many divisions, idolatry, sexual immorality, and a general disregard for the spiritual welfare of their brethren. If anyone were looking for a congregation to call home, they would probably keep looking! Even Apollos, one of Paul’s contemporaries and a brother in Christ, did not want to go to them at that time (1 Cor. 16:12).
In 1 Corinthians 16:5-7, after addressing many of their problems, Paul wrote:
“But I will come to you after I go through Macedonia, for I am going through Macedonia; and perhaps I will stay with you, or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way wherever I may go. For I do not wish to see you now just in passing; for I hope to remain with you for some time, if the Lord permits.”
Modern Christians should carefully consider this example when they become aware of problems in their congregations. Knowing the many problems present in Corinth, Paul still wanted to invest time in them for their spiritual benefit. His dedication to their spiritual growth displays a level of spiritual maturity to which every Christian should aspire.
The longer you are part of a congregation, the more problems you will see. Rather than abandoning a place because you see spiritual issues, talk with your brethren and examine the Scriptures together to correct the problems. Help them the way Paul helped the Corinthians, and you will be showing the kind of care God expects (1 Cor. 12:20-25). Help your brethren to be true to God and listen when others are correcting you. In other words, spend the winter together.