6 March 20171 Corinthians 1:1-9
“I give thanks to my God for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus.” (v. 4)
Psalm: Psalm 119:1-16
Imagine a multi-cultural city, set on a narrow corridor of land, where traders travelled through from south to north and east to west. It has a reputation for drunkenness, vice and prostitution. This was the wealthy, thriving capital city known as Corinth. It was a city that Paul knew well and where he had been able to establish a Christian church, having spent many months with the people there. But he had been away for some time and had been told that problems had developed in the community, so this letter was sent to try to sort things out.
As in all his letters, Paul begins with greetings and thanksgiving for the lives and devotion of the people he loves. 'I thank my God for you' is one of his favourite phrases. And he goes on to thank God for the gifts that those people have been given, urging them to keep on using them whatever happens. He reminds them that their gifts have been given by God to be used for the benefit of all people. Only by doing that will they be able to show the true spirit of Jesus.
Paul's tone at this point is that of a wise parent who knows that all is not well with the children's behaviour. Yet he wants to encourage first and sort out the problems later. And if he can do that … how much more?
Parents can forgive and forget the mistakes their children
the heartache they often cause;
the irresponsible behaviour, the outbursts of temper,
the willfulness and waywardness that youngsters can exhibit.
For love is there and understanding,
if not always patience and tolerance.
But there is knowledge of the pains of growing,
a remembrance of the trials of youth
and a bond of affection that holds the ties
that must one day be loosened into maturity.
If we, as human parents, have such care and compassion
that we will tolerate lapses in behaviour and seemingly unforgivable situations,
then how much more will God, our parent, show grace and mercy to us,
especially when we, like children,
come to say how sorry we are for what we have done.
- Who would you trust, or love enough, to allow them to tell you what they observe about the way you behave? And how would you react if they did?
- What is the special gift that God has given you (we all have at least one) and how do you use it?