Paul was a resident of Corinth for some time. He worked in the city as tentmaker alongside fellow believers Aquila and Priscilla. He spent time in the local synagogue, going there regularly. The spirit of God even urges Paul to continue to stay in Corinth, sharing the gospel of Jesus. For a time, a year and more, Corinth is home to Paul.
And Corinth like any city, town, or village was a chaotic mixture of sin, grace, and redemption. Paul’s words were heard by many: sailors just in from the sea, prostitutes plying their trade, Jews, God Fearers of various backgrounds, Roman officials, Greeks, and soldiers.
As Paul walked through this town, now little more than rocks with a history, he encountered humans at their best and their worst. Beggars extended their hands to him, Roman soldiers shoved past him, prostitutes beckoned him, slaves hustled by, and Believers, coming from any and all of these groups, greeted him with thanksgiving.
Paul must have had some misgivings when he first came to Corinth. It was a city of great wealth and power with a reputation for luxury and excess. What interest could God possibly have in a place like Corinth? Surely any word of Good News planted in such a place would be choked out instantly by the greed, pride, and vanity that permeated the city’s very air.
And yet, for a year and half and probably longer, Corinth was home to Paul. He worked there, preached there, and lived there in community with other Believers. God planted Paul in Corinth and bid him put down roots and the church grew and flourished.
Rarely is the place of our planting what it should be, but that is the very reason that God plants us there. We are not spectators to the coming kingdom of God, we are involved, rooted in God’s saving work.
Paul’s time in Corinth shows us what it is to claim the place of our planting. Jesus’ life on earth does the same. We are invited to love the soil where God has placed us, care for the people growing up around us, and claim the community God has given us to tend. This community will not be perfect. It may even be a place of disappointment, frustration, and discouragement. However, we have the assurance that this will not always be so. God is at work renewing and recreating our world and we are involved: in our homes, in our towns, in the places of our planting.