In these letters of the apostle Paul, we can see the obvious reality the early churches were highly interconnected with one another. Paul was eager to make sure this was the case.
Paul seemed constantly to be urging the churches to take up a collection for the church in Jerusalem that had been struggling through a years-long famine (Acts 24:17; Romans 15:26; 2 Corinthians 8-9). He asked the members of the church in Corinth to set aside money each week for this purpose.
But it wasn’t just money that was shared among the churches. People were freely shared as well. Timothy, Apollos, Stephanas, Fortunatus, Achaicus, Aquila, and Prisca moved from place to place, strengthening the churches and their leaders as they went. Some hosted churches in their homes. Some carried messages of encouragement. Some stayed and taught before moving on to another place.
Paul recognized the value in this sharing. There is one church after all – the body and bride of Christ – that exists across the globe. And we ought to be eager to share with our fellow churches elsewhere (as our church has a long tradition of doing).
We ought never to forget we have something to give. Each individual Christian has spiritual gifts or financial resources to give to the ongoing mission of the global church. And local churches may have people whom they can send for the sake of that mission.
The churches sent “greetings” to one another. They acknowledged one another. They wished one another well.
I sometimes will be on the phone with a friend or a family member, and that person will ask me to say “hello” to my wife and kids. There’s a desire there to recognize and pass on love from one person to another. Even at a distance, passed through intermediaries, this kind of thing is important and valued.
Perhaps we ought to think today about what we can share.