TODAY’S SCRIPTURE 1 Timothy 1:12-15 and Ephesians 2:1-10
The cartoon character Dennis the Menace is a perpetual “menace” to his neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Wilson. Despite Dennis’ perpetual mischievousness, Mrs. Wilson is always kind and gracious to him. In one particular cartoon, Dennis and his friend Joey are seen leaving the Wilson house with their hands full of their favorite cookies. Joey queries, “I wonder what we did to deserve this?” Dennis responds, “Look, Joey, Mrs. Wilson gives us cookies not because we’re nice, but because she’s nice.” Dennis’ answer is spot on. We, like Dennis the Menace, have done nothing to deserve God’s unfathomable mercy and grace (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8). Like David, we ask God, “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him?” (Psalm 8:4).
The apostle Paul knows who he is, what he is, and what he has done when referring to himself as “the foremost sinner” (1 Timothy 1:12-15; see Acts 7:59–8:3; 9:1-2; 22:3-5; 26:9-12). Yet, despite his sinful, violent, and blasphemous past, Paul humbly announces twice, “I received mercy” (1 Timothy 1:12, 16; see Titus 3:3-7). Paul, in response to God’s mercy, dedicates his life to sharing the message of God’s mercy and grace to all humanity (Romans 1:14-16; 1 Corinthians 9:16-17; see Colossians 1:23). As a result of God’s indescribable mercy and Paul’s humble obedience, the apostle could face life’s challenges and even death with confidence and anticipation (Philippians 1:20-23; 2 Timothy 4:6-8).
Today, I will…read 1 Timothy 1:12-16 along with the account of Paul’s conversion in Acts 9:1-18, reflecting upon the mercy God has shown me through Jesus Christ and then think of one person outside of Christ with whom I can share the story of God’s mercy and love.