By Elizabeth Prata
It rained yesterday. In other news, the cardinals that used to hang round in my yard, are back. About 8 years ago a tenant on the property had an aggressive yard cat, a hunter. Of course I didn’t mind that he cleared the yard of the mice. But then he apparently killed a bright red male cardinal, as I horrifyingly saw when leaving for work the next morning. He was under the feeder, so I surmised that he had been grazing on fallen seeds and was caught unawares.
I took down the feeder after that, seeing that I’d be luring them to their deaths instead of helpfully feeding them.
A succession of tenants over the next 8 years have also had hunter yard cats…until lately. So yesterday a trio of juvenile females apparently found it safe enough to return. They were feeding on the worms that had emerged after the rain, and then played in the large puddle in the driveway.
I watched the birds play. They’re so ebullient. They hop and dance and spray water all over their wings, just seemingly happy while dunking in the bounty of water.
I always thank my God for you because of the grace He has given you in Christ Jesus. 5For in Him you have been enriched in every way, in all speech and all knowledge—(1 Corinthians 1:4-5).
Reading this yesterday I was struck by how rich and deep even those few words were. I thought, do we actively thank God for our brothers and sisters? Thank them directly for their very presence in our lives? I know I can do a better job of this. Paul always opened his letters with such sentiments. And don’t even get me started on the deepness of His grace! A world of words can be unleashed about the grace He has given us. This time though, I got curious about verse 5a:
For in Him you have been enriched in every way
Paul was reminding them that not only have they been enriched but specially so in speech and knowledge. But I want to focus on the general enrichment.
What does that mean, exactly? Looking at the Greek word enriched, the meaning is defined-
from 4183 /polýs, “much in number/quantity” – passive, “be enriched”; bring fullness, abundance, richness.
I think it’s important to remember that the word is in the passive tense, to be enriched, rather than to enrich. We can enrich ourselves, but the passive tense suggests an external, outside-of-us enrichment. And that is exactly what Jesus has done- given us HIS riches, we having nothing to do with the process except simply to receive it.
Gill’s Exposition comments on the verse:
That in everything ye are enriched by him,…. This is still a continuation of the thanksgiving for this church, that they were “enriched”, or plentifully and abundantly provided for by Christ, with all grace, with all the riches of grace; with his own unsearchable riches, of which they were made partakers, and the riches of glory, to which they were entitled by him; and all which come to them through his poverty, which makes his grace in the donation of these riches the more illustrious: and particularly the apostle is thankful, that they were enriched by Christ. ~Gill’s Exposition
We have everything! We lack nothing, no matter how much we think we lack. We might think we’re out of money, energy, resources, fervor, etc., but we truly lack nothing. We have been enriched in every way. His riches never run dry. In every way means in every way.
We know we’re children of God. We often focus on the ‘of God’ part. But never forget we’re children. We are like the birds, dependent on the rain to unearth the worms and the puddles to bathe in. The birds did nothing to contribute to their sustenance. The worms come out when it rains, and they can’t control that. The puddles appear when it rains and they can’t control that.
So it is with us. The jobs appear and they might disappear. The money comes in or it doesn’t. The crops might be lush or they might fail. The deer might stay away from the garden or they might eat everything in it. We can control a lot in our lives with our choices but ultimately those choices are bounded by God’s sovereign choices- but remember His grace and His enrichment of us.
He chose to endow the Corinthians with a particular richness of speech and knowledge, but so He has enriched us in everything too, and also the particulars to our lives whether it be speech and knowledge or something else.
Ye are enriched by him; – compare the note at Romans 2:4. The meaning of this expression is, “you abound in these things; they are conferred abundantly upon you.” By the use of this word, the apostle intends doubtless to denote “the fact” that these blessings had been conferred on them abundantly; and also that this was a “valuable endowment,” so as to be properly called “a treasure.” The mercies of God are not only conferred abundantly on his people, but they are a bestowment of inestimable value; compare 2 Corinthians 6:10. ~Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
Bathe in His grace, joyfully.