No church is an island
No man is an island,Donne’s poem tells us that we are profoundly connected to each other. What is true for people is true for churches, which is why I’m so glad to be in a church that is part of a family of churches who work together for mutual benefit. Paul emphasises this point to the Corinthians who doubt their need of him:
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.- John Donne
And in this matter I give my judgement: this benefits you...
For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.
As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for your benefit...And it’s not just the Corinthians who benefit: from this living relationship, more life will come:2 Corinthians 8:10, 13-14, 23
But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you. For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. For we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. We do not boast beyond limit in the labours of others. But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged, so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another's area of influence.It would seem best to do all we can to bless others, that we might be blessed too, and from this more will be blessed.2 Corinthians 10:13-16