Keith Leach: Devotional — What’s your power source?

Published 12:11 pm Thursday, January 19, 2023

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, 5 for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind– 6 just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you– 7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. — 1 Corinthians 4 

These words from the apostle Paul are found in 1st Corinthians. Paul is following the normal Greek letter writing standard, where an author lets the reader know the main ideas and topics to which the letter will address. While Paul’s introduction in First Corinthians is briefer than many of his other letters, it is no less informative. Paul is writing this letter to remind the Corinthian Church of two things: that they have been called by God to be disciples of Jesus the Messiah and that having been called by God, it is God who equips them for that to accomplish that call.

While this may seem an unnecessary thing to point out, Paul has learned that the church there has begun to use their calling as a “badge of honor” which allows them the right to “lord it over” others. Instead of using it to build up the Church of Jesus Christ, the Corinthians are using the gift as a bragging right. They use their calling as something to laud themselves instead of being a servant to others, and to God.

In this letter, Paul reminds them that the gift they have received, the Good News of Jesus Christ, is indeed a gift, not something that they have, or could ever, earn. What they have learned is that one who had reason to boast, Jesus himself, humbled himself in service to the gospel and constantly listened to God the Father for understanding of God’s plan for his ministry.

Too often, the Church of Jesus Christ today makes the same mistake. Somehow, we have learned to rely on “human wisdom” instead of continually seeking the better way. The better way? To seek God’s will in all places and times. It is the more difficult path that requires waiting and listening for God’s plan. However, it is the only way we can live into the calling we have as Disciples of Christ. 

Keith Leach is Pastor of College Church and College Chaplain at Hampden-Sydney College. He can be reached at kleach@hsc.edu.