Week 33 Saturday

The Worst Sinner

Today’s scripture selection: First Timothy 1-3

Key verse: First Timothy 1:15

     There’s nothing like a little humility.

     The apostle Paul, whom some would call the greatest apostle, was – at one time in his life – anything but humble.

He was proud of his lineage; proud of his education; proud of his reputation; and I suspect proud of just about everything he said or did.

Then – while he was busy out on the road persecuting those followers of the crazy religion known as the “Way” he was struck down, literally.

Face down in the mud; struck blind; totally helpless and at the mercy of others – humbled.

When he saw the error of his ways and was restored to health and service by God, as a card-carrying member of the “Way” he had so zealously persecuted, he found new life. 

That’s why later he could boldly and un-apologetically write these words:

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.”

Wow.  So often when preachers write about sinners they forget to add that little bit at the end, arguably the most important part, about how they are sinners too.

I try to always remember that in my own preaching and teaching.

None of us are perfect, or anywhere close to it.  To borrow another of Paul’s famous phrases, every one of us has “sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

But every single one of us is also offered the wonderful, deep, inexplicable forgiveness and love of the very same God we have so deeply offended.  That’s what grace is all about, Charlie Brown.

So, let’s show a little humility.  Let’s be willing to admit what sinners we are.  Then we can celebrate, together, just how wonderful it is to be loved as deeply as we are by God.

Prayer: Lord, thank you again for your amazing grace.  AMEN. 






By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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