Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Imagine No Malaria-Lenten Devotion Day 36: March 20

Wednesday, March 20, 2013: A Life of Faith 

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 “As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, "At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you." See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!” 

Hearing Paul's word we can sense with increasing confidence that we don't have to wait until we get things in order, or for any other reason wait to accept that “now is the day of salvation!” It is wonderfully fresh, good news that Paul expresses that we work cooperatively “together with him” our creator. Our well intentioned reserve could cause us to miss the power of claiming today as the day of salvation. 

In our excitement, we might miss the warning. In the midst of this great word of inspiration there is a warning? “We urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain.” What could Paul be talking about in his concern that we accept the grace of God “in vain.” We'd think any way we can accept the grace of God would be a good thing. Right? Is it even possible to “accept the grace of God in vain.” 

That gives us reason to pause to let that question sink in? What might be the problem? The central struggle of the human condition could be our resistance to the idea that God has a claim on our lives. We prefer our will to God's will. We'd rather live for ourselves than live for God. 

The writer of Ephesians expresses the same concern in 4:1. “I... beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” That our resistance to living for God can overwhelm our commitment is a common challenge to a life of faith. 

To contemplate leading “a life worthy” causes us to reflect on the Lord's life lived absolutely worthy. He brought wholeness to the lives he touched. These were people who would have gone untouched altogether, but for his ministry to them. As the church continues his ministry, there are some exciting opportunities to touch others. “Imagine, No Malaria” is one of those. Do you remember your church energized over “Nothing but Nets?” Lenten contemplation ought not be dismal. Finding our work together can be a deeply satisfying, energizing experience. 

Prayer: Dear Lord, as we celebrate the good news that today is the day of salvation, let us never forget that loving you and loving your people are inseparable realities. Our discipleship is validated in the way we love others. We thank you Lord, that continuing your ministry of touching others is work that we do together with you. And always let us remember, that it is not our power, but your power that brings wholeness from your touch. These things I pray, in the name of Christ. Amen. 

Rev. Douglas (Dee) Edwards, Arkansas Conference 

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