1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
What a marvelous explanation of grace! I think that to the day he was martyred Paul was sharply aware that he had been a persecutor of the Church, as he brings up in the verse before this. He knew full well that he didn’t deserve to be called, sent, and used by God, but at the same time he couldn’t deny that had happened. It’s not surprising that the book of Acts deals so much with the activities of Paul. Not only was Luke evidently won to the Lord through Paul, Paul was perhaps the most widely active of all the Church leaders of the day, just as he says here. However, he takes no personal credit for that, stating flatly that it was all God’s grace. What a marvelous example! We are so prone either not to do what God is saying to do, or else trying to take credit for what God has done through us. Paul did neither of those things, and half of the New Testament is part of the result!
I have fallen in both those areas, both failing to be obedient and trying to take credit for what has gotten done. By God’s grace I think I do better now, but at times I’m a slow learner! At 72, the world says I’m supposed to be retired, but I don’t think that’s in my contract. At any rate, I hope I never stop serving God! I really don’t know what all God has planned for me, but I’m still praying and working toward the vision God has given us of Omura again being the foremost Christian city in Japan. That is still quite obviously a humanly impossible thing, but nothing is impossible for God, and I want to stay available to Him. In the mean time there are lots of shorter-term tasks and goals and I don’t want to miss any of them. The end of the year is always a frantic time, to the point that I essentially dread Christmas, and that attitude is hardly good. I need to remember that it is indeed God’s grace that has brought me safe thus far, and that same grace will get me through everything ahead, just as John Newton so famously wrote.
Father, thank You for this reminder. It’s such a basic issue that at times I overlook it. Keep me from procrastinating on the things that I know are to be done. Rather, help me recognize which tasks are on Your schedule for me and do them promptly, and recognize which things are simply distractions, to decline them. Thank You that Ann is arriving today. May the three weeks she will be here be truly blessed in every way that You intend, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!