“Send (Timothy) on to me with your blessing”.
1 Cor 16:11 EHP
One of the great features of the Christian community is the tradition of warm hospitality. Christian disciples tend to form friendships that last a long time. They “look each other up” after gaps of many years sometimes, and usually say, “My but the years flown. But we take up right where we left off”. And sometimes those friendships sustain each party through happy days and sad, strengthening and supporting one another.
Travelling in Bible days was a long, slow and arduous exercise. Inns were few and far between. It became the Christian custom to provide hospitality to missionaries, apostles and teachers as they passed through the various places where there were communities. It would have brought joy to those extending the hospitality as they exchanged news and information about the people in different places. Illnesses, marriages, babies born and deaths that hap- pened would have been faithfully recorded. So would the progress in the various congregations that the traveller had passed through. No doubt too, future plans, especially where these promised visits from apostles, would also have featured. The Christian community was a widely spread grouping that would need encouragement in every place.
And Paul gave careful instructions to the Corinthians as to how they were to treat young Timothy, his assistant and fellow teacher. So Timothy would have been welcomed as if he were Paul himself. He would have been encouraged and supported during his stay in Corinth. And the Corinthians would have laid their hands on him, prayed over him, and blessed him. He would have been spiritually fortified and would have gone on his journey with a new heart and having been enriched by this fellowship with the wider family of the church.
Lord, help us all to feel that we are members one of another.