I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. 1 Corinthians 1:4-5
These are incredibly generous words aren’t they? But they are also rather surprising when you know what follows. This letter to the church in Corinth is full of very serious criticisms of their life together. Indeed, at times it feels as if they got nothing right. But Paul was determined to start his letter on a positive note, and he did so by pointing to all the ways in which God had blessed them.
First of all, Paul gave thanks for the gifts that God had given them. This letter has a great deal to say about the gifts that God gives to his Church. Paul was convinced that God had given the Corinthians everything they needed to be an effective church. He would spend much time in this letter pointing out the way in which they had mishandled those gifts, but there was no question about the generosity of God.
Secondly, he rejoiced that they belonged to Jesus. Amidst all the challenges of life in a hostile city, they had the security of a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ that was unbreakable. Thirdly, Paul indicated that God had enriched their church in every way. That’s our God! We might make a horrible mess of church life at times, but God is continually bringing enrichment and blessing to his Church as we open our arms to him.
This teaches us a great deal. It would have been the easiest thing in the world for Paul to have launched into this letter with a tirade about how hopeless the Corinthians were. But he didn’t. He focused on God and the amazing ways in which God had blessed them. Let’s remember that God remains the generous God who loves to equip and bless us.
Based on these verses what message of encouragement would you put together for your own church?
Loving God, thank you that you are constantly generous and that you have given your Church all the gifts it needs to do your work. Amen