Monday Devotional: November 27, 2023



Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 (NRSVUE)

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I give thanks to my[a] 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 gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the partnership of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

In these opening lines of Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth, we see the apostle’s deep desire for that beloved community. Paul writes in order to encourage the church to live the way of Jesus, to be strengthened in its witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to develop spiritual gifts among the members. Evidently, the church is dealing with power struggles, judgmental attitudes, doctrinal disputes, and disparities of treatment between rich and poor members.

In a city like Corinth — a large, wealthy, diverse urban center — power, money, and knowledge are hot commodities. But Paul speaks of being enriched not by money and power but by Christ Jesus. The gospel of Jesus radically shifts the focus and invites the church to turn from “idols” (1 Corinthians 12:2) and toward the Spirit of God who is both the source and activator of what is worth the most: spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-5). In this letter, Paul reminds the church of the great dignity and value of every gift and every person. The Corinthians find themselves in the time between Advents; they “wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul advises them that they have the gifts and grace necessary for this time of waiting and he admonishes them to demonstrate unity in their fellowship while they wait.

As we enter into the Advent time of waiting, Paul’s words remind us that Christ Jesus is already among us, gracing us with gifts to share for the common good. It is in the waiting time that we receive the opportunity to welcome the love of Christ to transform us; to free us from rancor, judgment, injustice, and conflict; and to make of us a community that offers the world a sign of the faith, hope, and love that is our true calling.


Generous Spirit, open my hands and hearts to receive — and share — your love and compassion. Amen

By Ginger E. Gaines-Cirelli, The Upper Room Disciplines 2017, page 398.