February 28, 2021, Acts 16:11-15, 40, 1 Corinthians 1:26-30 Post 3

You can read this week’s Scripture in both the New Revised Standard Version and The Message at –

Let’s focus on the passage from 1 Corinthians –

1 Corinthians 1:26-30

Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption,

Paul asks the disciples in Corinth to “consider your own call.”

If he paused for a while with that image in their minds, they might begin to feel they were very important people and had every right to feel very proud of themselves. After all, there’s nothing that can compare to being one of God’s chosen ones, can it?

Now notice what he says next about the called ones. They are “ not … wise by human standards … not powerful … not of noble birth … foolish … weak … low … despised … things that are not ….”

Does this sound like the way to build people up? Could Paul make a career being a “motivational speaker” or doing seminars on “how to increase your self-esteem and confidence”?

So many times I have heard preachers – and others – take these words and similar words from Scripture as though it is the most necessary part of the Gospel message to do all they can to tell folk how bad and worthless they are. After all, they might say, we are all “sinful and fallen” and have “no good thing in us.” Some even seem to delight in bringing people to tears as they tear them down.

“… by human standards …

I think something different is going on here than trying to make people feel bad about themselves.

It is about the counter-cultural Gospel. It is about turning the values promoted by so much of our culture upside down. It is an attempt to bring to light what God values in us and for us. As you read the “Sermon on the Mount” and the Kingdom parables of Jesus to see this same counter-cultural Gospel.

“[God] is the source of your life in Christ Jesus …”

Does he want the folk to trust in, put their faith in, have confidence in something, someone that can sustain their lives in all circumstances?

Rather than trying to convince people they are worthless, maybe he wants us to see and acknowledge how we often trust in those things that do nothing to give us hope and life.

Take time to “consider your own call” and think about where that call takes you. What it calls you to leave behind, to discard, the clutter it calls you to clear out, and what it calls you to, where it calls you to go.

Notice how this is presented in The Message translation,

Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God. (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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