Daily Readings & Thought for September 1st. “HIS GRACE TOWARD ME WAS NOT IN VAIN”
Today we read one of the most meaningful chapters in the Bible > Ch. 15 of 1 Corinthians. Many verses “jump out” inviting our meditation. The one we have chosen to really reflect upon is v10. Paul laments on his unworthiness, but then says, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God.”
We hear the word grace used a lot in Christian circles. There are popular hymns about “amazing grace” and how the Lord has “saved a wretch like me.” Careful Bible readers more than anyone else appreciate “the wonder of his grace.” But we need to thoughtfully reflect on the example of Paul and his utter commitment of service to his Lord to see that “his grace toward me was not in vain.”
No one can earn salvation so that they deserve it! We must ask ourselves in accepting “his grace” – ‘What kind of motivation is this creating in my heart? Can it be that for all too many in these “last days” that his grace is taken for granted and it fails to motivate them to live really committed lives, failing to follow the example of Paul?
Let us realize that our commitment is really seen in all the small things we do (or don’t do) every day. Paul urged his companions in this. We will soon read in 2 Cor. 8 how he “urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace.” That “act of grace” was in “taking part in the relief of the saints” who were in “extreme poverty” [v.2,4] Paul tells the Corinthians, “… you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you – see that you excel in this act of grace also.” [v.6,7]
Our acceptance of the grace of God should change us – as it did Paul, to show grace toward others in every situation so that our Lord’s grace toward us is “not in vain.” If we have previously been a “wretch” – this change should be extremely evident.
The challenge for most of us is in the many “small things” we do every day. Recall yesterday’s reading in 2 Kings of Naaman being angry he had not been asked to do some great thing to be cured of his leprosy. His grace toward us is not in vain if we constantly do many small things in his service.