“I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you.”
(1 Corinthians 1:4–6 NIV)
Corinth was a melting pot of potential. All the big players of culture were there; Greeks, Romans, and Jews. The people who called themselves Christ followers were small and insignificant in the influence landscape. They were “enriched… with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge”. Paul’s words to this church affirm all the potential that they had.
Paul often opened his letters with a prayer for his reader or an explanation of what he prays for them. Some scholars believe you can find Paul’s thesis in his opening prayers. It’s that Paul sees something in these congregations and asks the lord to draw that unrealized potential out. Before he jumps into correction and teaching, he gives them a window into his prayer closet. They get to hear his longing for them through his prayer.
Paul’s words are not his alone. They are gratitude prayers, empowered by the Spirit’s heart for this Corinthian Church. This kind of attitude reflects the way God thinks about us as well. God isn’t blind to the many ways we fall short, but he can see past our weaknesses into our most genuine potential. He longs for what we can become even when we find ourselves far from that place today.
How might you partner with God’s Spirit in seeing someone’s potential this week? Ask the Spirit to use your prayers and words of encouragement to call out the potential in someone this week. Perhaps write a note to someone explaining the grateful prayer you pray for them.