What has Jesus called you to do? How has the overflowing grace and love of God enfolded you and empowered you, especially in times when you have made poor choices out of ignorance or pride or spiritual weakness? You aren’t alone in these situations: In yesterday’s scripture—Psalm 14—the psalmist speaks of our weaknesses, even going so far as to say, “There is no one who does good, not even one” (v. 3, niv). When was the last time you shared with someone what Jesus has done in your life? Are you thankful for being a disciple of Jesus Christ?
Today’s reading begins with the author of First Timothy’s simple confession of thanks to Jesus who has fully accepted him: “I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord.” I am grateful to Jesus Christ for my calling. A calling from God is a burning desire that gives urgency to do something about what Jesus has imprinted on our heart. I have been the first Korean-American woman to serve in many of the roles I have filled in the United Methodist Church. I am opening a door for future generations of Korean-American women. Imprinted on my heart is the desire to advocate for those who are marginalized—women and persons who are among racial and ethnic minorities—so that they experience “full acceptance” of God. As a response to my call, I am extra diligent in my work and ministry. God’s mercy and grace strengthen and empower me when I face tokenism, discrimination, and prejudice.
I thank God for my “holy burden.” At times it seems too much to carry, and at times I fret over it. But then, I stop and acknowledge that this burden is accompanied by God’s sufficient grace upon me. What a privilege of knowing this God who brings us together in the midst of diversity!
I am grateful, O God, for what you have done through Jesus Christ in my life. Now help me testify about your grace and love to others. Amen.
Jeremiah’s warning of coming judgment continues. The children of Israel have become foolish, have ignored God, and have become good mainly at doing evil. God is going to respond to this situation. The psalmist describes the state of all who are foolish: they deny God and follow their own corrupt desires, including the oppression of the poor. The author of First Timothy, traditionally Paul, says that this was also his former way of life. He has been foolish and ignorant, a persecutor of the followers of Christ. In fact, he had been the worst of all sinners; yet Christ has shown him mercy, not judgment. Jesus tells two parables to reveal God’s heart. Rather than neglecting the ignorant, the foolish, and the lost, God searches to find each one of us.
Read Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28. How do your actions show others that you know God?
Read Psalm 14. When have you, like the psalmist, felt that no one knows God? How did you have faith that God would restore God’s people?
Read 1 Timothy 1:12-17. Recall a time when you felt unworthy of Christ Jesus’ full acceptance. How has that experience made you more grateful for Christ’s mercy?
Read Luke 15:1-10. In a world full of death and violence, how do you rejoice when God finds one lost person?
Respond by posting a prayer.
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.