Day 2: Gifts of grace sustain us

1 Corinthians 1:3-9

Paul was a workhorse. Traveling all over the Mediterranean, he was coach, mentor, enthusiast, song leader, and fireplug. Every new non-profit or community group wants a Paul!

In this reading Paul is writing to the church in Corinth, a place he had visited for a long time. This entire reading sounds like an introduction; a flowery windup, buttering up the folks in Corinth and letting them know how wonderful they are. His letter seems like an ancient Eddie Haskell telling Mrs. Cleaver how nice her hair looks.
But, there is more here. The congregants in Corinth are new to the faith. These remarks remind them of the grace of God they received through Jesus Christ, of the gifts given them, and of the great enrichment in all speech and knowledge bestowed upon them. This is much more than mere positive pablum. Paul is reminding them of what they received from God and his church.

Paul gets around to telling them what they need to do. But these first six verses remind them of there great gifts and fortune. Like a good coach Paul is exhorting them to live up to the creed, appreciate their gifts, and remember why they are a church. Each church member can find something that talks to him or her, helping them on their spiritual journey. In the process Paul sets the foundation for the purpose of the letter, which is to remind the churchgoers of Corinth to work together, not splinter, and to remain steadfast in their Christian faith.
We all need a guide to help us with our journey. But, like any guidance or instruction, the effort is wasted if we are not open to receive it. Paul’s preface reminded this flock of their fortune and opened their ears. Are our ears open?

Prayer: Dear God, your son Jesus Christ gave us great gifts through his sacrifice, love, and example; and Paul reminded us of this abundance. We ask you to help us be mindful of this bounty and to rely on it daily in our job, community and family. May we always be comfortable in witnessing to others, relying on the enrichment with which Jesus Christ blessed us. Amen.

John Hartzell

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